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    FAQ/Walkthrough by Webapprentice

    Version: 2.4 | Updated: 04/20/06 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Gradius V FAQ
    by Webapprentice
    with major contributions by Jason (kendarin_bloodtear@yahoo.com)
    and other contributions (listed in the FAQ as you read)
    
    FAQ VERSION 2.4
    LAST UPDATE: 12/09/2005
    
    Changelist:
    Contribution from Totoroslayer about how points are accumulated.
    See flight tips section.
    
    ----------------
    You can find this FAQ at the following places:
    gamefaqs.com (I do the first update here)
    faq.ign.com
    
    Anybody else carrying this is doing so without permission!
    
    AUTHOR: Webapprentice (Stephen)
    CONTACT: clowwizarderiol@gmail.com
    
    I will accept corrections and additional information,
    and you will be credited if you are the first to submit your information.
    I don't want to have to do this all alone. =)
    
    Please be courteous and write decently in your emails.  Do not flame me.
    Email in all uppercase or all lowercase will be ignored.
    ----------------
    
    The document is to be considered free of cost.  It cannot be included
    as part of a commercial transaction (i.e. sold) or bundled with
    another product as a freebie.
    
    All copyrights and trademarks are acknowledged and respected that
    are not specifically stated in this document.  The FAQ author does not 
    seek to challenge those copyrights with this FAQ.
    
    Gradius V is copyrighted by Konami and Konami Computer Entertainment
    Tokyo (1985-2004).  This FAQ is not affliated with Konami in any way.
    
    Gradius V FAQ - Unpublished Work Copyright 2004
    ----------------
    
    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    
    Intro                                   [0_intro]
    Controls                                [1_control]
    Menu                                    [2_menu]
    Basic Weapon Array Types                [3_baseweap]
    Multiples                               [4_multiples]
    Weapon Edit List                        [5_weapedit]
    Ship's Hit Box                          [6_hitbox]
    Flight Tips                             [7_flight]
    Demo                                    [8_demo]
    Stage 1                                 [9_stg1]
    --Very Easy                             [9_stg1_ve]
    --Very Hard                             [9_stg1_vh]
    Stage 2                                 [10_stg2]
    --Very Easy                             [10_stg2_ve]
    --Very Hard                             [10_stg2_vh]
    Stage 3                                 [11_stg3]
    --Very Easy                             [11_stg3_ve]
    --Very Hard                             [11_stg3_vh]
    Stage 4                                 [12_stg4]
    --Very Easy                             [12_stg4_ve]
    --Very Hard                             [12_stg4_vh]
    Stage 5                                 [13_stg5]
    --Very Easy                             [13_stg5_ve]
    --Very Hard                             [13_stg5_vh]
    Stage 6                                 [14_stg6]
    --Very Easy                             [14_stg6_ve]
    --Very Hard                             [14_stg6_vh]
    Stage 7                                 [15_stg7]
    --Very Easy                             [15_stg7_ve]
    --Very Hard                             [15_stg7_vh]
    Stage 8                                 [16_stg8]
    --Very Easy                             [16_stg8_ve]
    --Very Hard                             [16_stg8_vh]
    Additional Loops / Higher Difficulties  [17_loop_diff]
    Secrets                                 [18_secrets]
    Soundtrack                              [19_ost]
    Credits                                 [20_credits]
    
    
    [0_intro]
    Introduction
    
    Gradius is Konami's venerable space fighter shooting series.
    Gradius V continues that tradition.  While Konami is the publisher
    and rights owner of the series, they wisely let Treasure develop this game.
    Treasure's influence is very apparent to the savvy gamer.  The graphical
    quality and style is somewhat reminiscent of Ikaruga.  If you 
    look at the fonts in the config screen, they look a lot like the
    ones in Ikaruga.  Likewise, even some sound effects will also
    harken back to Ikaruga.  Big mid-boss and boss explosions 
    typical Treasure's stylistic trademarks.
    
    This guide is a basic guide.  I'm no shooting expert, so this guide
    does not help you optimize your scoring.  This guide is for the
    casual gamers just looking to survive. (heh) The stage descriptions will
    offer highlights that the player will want to know, but since I cannot
    describe where every enemy is going to appear, you will have better
    luck searching the web for people who recorded videos of themselves
    playing or who drew sketches of the stages.
    
    This FAQ is primarily written on the Very Easy level of difficulty. 
    Jason (kendarin_bloodtear@yahoo.com) contributed information for
    the very hard level of difficulty. Some things will be different 
    at higher difficulty levels, so this FAQ cannot describe everything.
    You must practice to do well in the game.
    
    
    [1_control]
    Controls
    
    These controls are changeable in the config menu.
    
    Control Pad or Left Analog: Control the Vic Viper.
    X: Fire bullets and missiles.  Bullets fire more often than missiles.
    O: Activate the currently highlighted power-up
    R1: Multiple Control (use the alternate multiple control scheme)
        You must hold down R1 to continue using the alternate multiple
        control scheme.
    Start: Pause game
    L1 + L2 + R1 + R2 + Select + Start: Soft Reset (No saving is done)
    
    
    [2_menu]
    Menu
    
    Game Start: Start the game from the beginning
    
    Stage Select: Once you clear a section of a stage, it is unlocked
    for stage select.  You can go back to any section you have passed and
    practice.  Free play (unlimited credits) is active during this. 
    Once you reach the end of the unlocked sections or the end of
    the stage, the game ends.
    
    Score Attack: This is used to build up a high score.  Konami
    has/had a contest for high scorers.  You will be given a password
    at the end of score attack that you can enter on their website.
    Go to the website http://www.konami.com/gradius5 and click on
    the "official site" image link to open a pop-up window to the
    score attack site.  Score Attack is set to normal difficulty.
    
    Ranking: See the score rankings on the game itself.  You can view
    scores by difficulty.
    
    Config: Change the sound, game difficulty, starting player stock 
    per credit, extend, revival start, and button control scheme.
    You can assign almost any button to any of the button actions.
    (L3, R3, Select, and Start are excluded)
    
    Save/Load: Save and load games as well as toggle auto-save.
    Activating Auto-Save will cause the game to save when you leave
    the main menu and at the end of your game.
    
    Exit: Go back to the title screen.
    
    
    [3_baseweap]
    Basic Weapon Array Types
    
    The weapons in the array go from left to right.  As you collect
    power-ups, the border of the power up will be highlighted. 
    Getting the first power capsule highlights the first power up.
    The 2nd power capsule you collect without dying highlights the
    second power-up instead and so forth.  To reach the ? power-up
    at the right requires collecting six power capsules without dying.
    
    With the exception of Multiple and Force Field, once you activate
    a power-up, you cannot activate it again until you die.  The empty
    slot remains there, however, so you must still traverse the weapon 
    array normally.  In a 1-player game, you can have a max of 4 
    multiples.  The Force Field power-up will become available once the
    current Force Field is exhausted.
    
    If you die and had something in the weapon array highlighted, the
    highlight resets to the first one.
    
    Sometimes, an enemy will drop a blue power-up capsule.  This
    is the Mega Crush.  Grabbing it will destroy all small enemies on
    the screen and clear all enemy bullets, spheres, and lasers
    from the screen.
    
    When you start a game, you can choose 1 of 4 weapon array types.
    
    
    Type 1
    Speed Up | Missile | Double | Laser | Multiple (Freeze) | ?
    
    Speed Up: Speeds up the ship one level.  You can speed up the Vic
    Viper five times.  If you use Speed Up a sixth time, the Vic Viper
    returns to its original speed.
    
    Missile: Shoots a missile that travels at a 45-degree angle downward in
    front of the ship.  Once the missile reaches the ground, the missile will
    travel along the ground until it hits an object, falls into a pit,
    or has travelled a certain distance.  This missile will go downhill but
    not uphill.
    
    Double: Shoots a regular ship bullet at a 45-degree angle upward
    in front of the ship in addition to your regular forward bullet. 
    Combined with missile, and you have decent coverage above and below your
    ship.
    
    Laser: Shoots a long, set-length laser.
    
    Multiple (Freeze): Create an orange oval-shaped shadow that shoots the
    same weapons as your ship.  The multiples will trail your ship
    like a serpent.  Holding down R1 will lock the multiples in place.
    This will allow you to set up and keep a particular formation
    for your multiples.
    
    Force Field: This creates a force field around your ship that will absorb
    3 bullets.  It'll stop a laser hit, but it doesn't absorb it, so you
    do need to get out of the way before the laser registers more hits.  The 
    Force Field does not protect you from collisions with enemy ships, 
    the landscape, or other environmental hazards.
    
    
    Type 2
    Speed Up | Two-Way Missile | Tailgun | Laser | Multiple (Direction) | ?
    
    Speed Up: Speeds up the ship one level.  You can speed up the Vic
    Viper five times.  If you use Speed Up a sixth time, the Vic Viper
    returns to its original speed.
    
    Two-Way Missile: Shoots two missiles where one travels upward at a 
    45-degree angle in front of your ship while the other travels downward 
    at a 45-degree angle in front of your ship.  Once the missiles reach the 
    ground, they stop.  Therefore, you have to be on-target with these missiles.
    
    Tailgun: Shoots a regular ship bullet directly behind the ship in addition 
    to your regular forward bullet.  This is good for hitting enemies and objects 
    coming from the rear.
    
    Laser: Shoots a long, set-length laser that's a little thinner than
    the type 1 laser.  It seems a little weaker than the type 1 laser, but I
    cannot confirm.  Your multiples, however, will shoot a continuous laser.
    
    Multiple (Direction): Create an orange oval-shaped shadow that shoots the
    same weapons as your ship.  The multiples will trail your ship
    like a serpent.  Holding down R1 will lock your ship and multiples in place.
    While holing R1, rotate the control pad to change the multiples' direction
    of fire in 360-degrees (!).  You can hit anything at any angle.
    
    If you have lasers, your multiples will shoot a continuous laser.  As you
    fly up and down, the multiples' laser stream will curve a little up or down
    depending on the direction.  Use the direction ability and you can direct 
    their lasers all over the place like a water hose or a particle thrower. heh
    
    Force Field: This creates a force field around your ship that will absorb
    3 bullets.  It'll stop a laser hit, but it doesn't absorb it, so you
    do need to get out of the way before the laser registers more hits.  The 
    Force Field does not protect you from collisions with enemy ships, 
    the landscape, or other environmental hazards.
    
    
    Type 3
    Speed Up | Eagle Wind Missile | Tailgun | Laser | Multiple (Spacing) | ?
    
    Speed Up: Speeds up the ship one level.  You can speed up the Vic
    Viper five times.  If you use Speed Up a sixth time, the Vic Viper
    returns to its original speed.
    
    Eagle Wind Missile: When your ship is in the upper half of the screen, missiles
    are fired upward at a 45-degree angle in front of your ship. When your ship 
    is in the lower half of the screen, missiles are fired downward at a 45-degree 
    angle in front of your ship. Once the missile reaches the ground, the missile 
    will travel along the ground until it hits an object, falls into a pit,
    or has travelled a certain distance.  This missile will go downhill but
    not uphill.  This missile has the same strength as the regular missile.
    [Correction by Morgasaurus and MT3000 at Gamefaqs]
    
    Tailgun: Shoots a regular ship bullet directly behind the ship in addition 
    to your regular forward bullet.  This is good for hitting enemies and object 
    coming from the rear.
    
    Laser: Shoots a long, set-length laser.
    
    Multiple (Spacing) : Create an orange oval-shaped shadow that shoots the
    same weapons as your ship.  The multiples will stay above and below your 
    ship (first one appears above, second one below, etc.) and stay in this 
    formation. Press and hold down R1 will make the multiple spacing widen further
    until a certain point.  If you press and hold R1 again, the multiple spacing 
    will shrink until a certain point.  (Think of it as analog distance adjustment)
    When you have 4 multiples, they fly in a small V-like formation.
    
    Force Field: This creates a force field around your ship that will absorb
    3 bullets.  It'll stop a laser hit, but it doesn't absorb it, so you
    do need to get out of the way before the laser registers more hits.  The 
    Force Field does not protect you from collisions with enemy ships, 
    the landscape, or other environmental hazards.
    
    
    Type 4
    Speed Up | Two-Way Back Missile | Double | Laser | Multiple (Rotate) | ?
    
    Speed Up: Speeds up the ship one level.  You can speed up the Vic
    Viper five times.  If you use Speed Up a sixth time, the Vic Viper
    returns to its original speed.
    
    Two-Way Back Missile: Shoots two missiles where one travels upward at a 
    45-degree angle in back of your ship while the other travels downward 
    at a 45-degree angle in back of your ship.  Once the missiles reach the 
    ground, they stop.  Therefore, you have to be on-target with these missiles.
    
    Double: Shoots a regular ship bullet at a 45-degree angle upward
    in front of the ship in addition to your regular forward bullet. 
    Combined with missile, and you have decent coverage above and below your
    ship.
    
    Laser: Shoots a long, set-length laser that's a little thinner than
    the type 1 laser.  It seems a little weaker than the type 1 laser, but I
    cannot confirm.  Your multiples, however, will shoot a continuous laser.
    
    Multiple (Rotate): Create an orange oval-shaped shadow that shoots the
    same weapons as your ship.  The multiples will trail your ship
    like a serpent. Press and hold R1 will cause the multiples to rotate
    counterclockwise around your ship at a set radius from your ship.
    Press and hold R1 again to make the multiples rotate clockwise
    around your ship at a set radius from your ship.
    
    If you have lasers, your multiples will shoot a continuous laser.  As you
    fly up and down, the multiples' laser stream will curve a little up or down
    depending on the direction.  If you have two or more multiples with 
    lasers, you end up creating a sinusoidal laser wave when you rotate them.
    
    Force Field: This creates a force field around your ship that will absorb
    3 bullets.  It'll stop a laser hit, but it doesn't absorb it, so you
    do need to get out of the way before the laser registers more hits.  The 
    Force Field does not protect you from collisions with enemy ships, 
    the landscape, or other environmental hazards.
    
    
    Weapon Edit
    -----------
    When you get the Weapon Edit mode, press R1 at the weapon array select screen,
    and you'll be able to create a weapon array based on present and past Gradius 
    games. Think of this as your Type 5 or custom weapon array.
    
    
    [4_multiples]
    Multiples
    
    Multiples are an important strategic weapon in Gradius.  Multiples are 
    indestructable and can pass through the landscape, so you can 
    strategically maneuver them into areas your ship can't
    reach.  This is useful to hit enemies in difficult spots or hit boss
    cores that are well-protected.
    
    Since multiples mimic your current weapons configuration 
    (except the ? weapon), it effectively increases your firepower.
    
    When you die, any multiples you have stop where they are and begin to scroll
    off the screen.  If your revival start is turned off, your next ship will 
    appear on the screen almost immediately, and you can attempt to recover some 
    or all of your multiples.
    
    The formation you choose is important to your playing strategy.  Unless you
    lose all your lives and continue, you cannot change the formation type, 
    so you have to find a formation that works for you through the entire game.
    
    Freeze Multiples are versatile since you can set up a formation you like and
    lock it in place.  The downside is that you have to move your ship until
    the multiples are in a formation you like.  This is hard to do in tight
    quarters.
    
    Directional Multiples allow you to hit in 360 directions.  You can hit
    things in hard to reach places or cover your back.  Unfortunately, your ship
    and multiples can't move during this.  This is useful when the stage
    changes direction a lot.
    
    Spacing Multiples are best in open space dogfights or areas with floors and 
    ceilings.  They also help against enemy fighters traveling in line formations.
    
    Rotating Multiples give you a wide forward attack, but since multiples cannot
    absorb bullets they are useless as shields.
    
    Depending on your weapon configuration, some formations will work better than
    others in certain stages.  Since you cannot change the formation unless
    you continue, pick one that suits your playing style.  Once weapon edit is
    available, you can try more combinations of weapons and multiple formations.
    
    
    [5_weapedit]
    Weapon Edit List
    
    You get Weapons Edit mode after you beat the game once.  When you have this,
    you can select the edit mode by pressing R1 at the weapon type select screen
    right before you start the game.  If you die in the game, you can choose one
    of the four default weapon array types or select the weapon edit array you 
    chose at the beginning and edit it again with the control stick/control pad.
    
    
    Missile Types (7 types!)
    -------------
    
    Missile: Shoots a missile that travels at a 45-degree angle downward in
    front of the ship.  Once the missile reaches the ground, the missile will
    travel along the ground until it hits an object, falls into a pit,
    or has travelled a certain distance.  This missile will go downhill but
    not uphill.
    
    Eagle Wind Missile: When your ship is in the upper half of the screen, missiles
    are fired upward at a 45-degree angle in front of your ship. When your ship 
    is in the lower half of the screen, missiles are fired downward at a 45-degree 
    angle in front of your ship. Once the missile reaches the ground, the missile 
    will travel along the ground until it hits an object, falls into a pit,
    or has travelled a certain distance.  This missile will go downhill but
    not uphill.  This missile has the same strength as the regular missile.
    [Correction by Morgasaurus and MT3000 at Gamefaqs]
    
    Two-Way Missile: Shoots two missiles where one travels upward at a 
    45-degree angle in front of your ship while the other travels downward 
    at a 45-degree angle in front of your ship.  Once the missiles reach the 
    ground, they stop.  Therefore, you have to be on-target with these missiles.
    
    Two-Way Back Missile: Shoots two missiles where one travels upward at a 
    45-degree angle in back of your ship while the other travels downward 
    at a 45-degree angle in back of your ship.  Once the missiles reach the 
    ground, they stop.  Therefore, you have to be on-target with these missiles.
    
    Spread Bomb: Shoot a bomb at a "45-degree angle" parabolic arc downward 
    in front of your ship.  When it hits the ground, it explodes a large bluish 
    blast radius.  This will destroy or damage surrounding enemies as well as the 
    target.  Since the bomb does not travel along the ground, you have to be 
    on-target.  The Spread Bomb is the strongest missile.
    
    Photon Torpedo: This missile drops straight down from your ship.  If you
    are moving forward or backward, the bomb drops a little in front or behind
    the ship (good physics engine!).  This missile will travel along the ground
    but when it hits an enemy or destroyable object, it will continue to travel
    to hit enemies up ahead.  This missile will go downhill but not uphill.
    The photon torpedo has the same strength as a normal missile, but it has
    the ability to plow through enemies.
    
    Flying Torpedo: Shoots two missiles in front of your ship flying in parallel.
    This acts like a twin forward shot but not as rapid.
    
    
    Double Types (5 types)
    ------------
    
    Double: Shoots a regular ship bullet at a 45-degree angle upward
    in front of the ship in addition to your regular forward bullet. 
    Combined with missile, and you have decent coverage above and below your
    ship.
    
    Free Way: Your main shot fires forward while the second shot fires in the
    direction of your controller as you fly.  If you fly upwards, for example,
    the second shot fires upwards.  If you stop moving, the second shot will
    fire in the last direction the ship was travelling.
    
    Spread Gun: Shoots two shots, with one shot travelling
    at a 45-degree angle upward in front of your ship and the other travelling
    at a 45-degree angle downward in front of your ship.  You have no forward
    firing coverage unless you chose a missile that shoots forward.  This weapon
    is not very good against most bosses whose weak point is directly in front of
    your ship.
    
    Vertical: The second shot fire at a 90-degree angle above your ship.
    
    Tailgun: Shoots a regular ship bullet directly behind the ship in addition 
    to your regular forward bullet.  This is good for hitting enemies and objects 
    coming from the rear.
    
    
    Laser Types (4 types)
    -----------
    
    Laser: Shoots a long, set-length laser.
    
    Ripple: Shoots a ring-like laser that gives you wider firing coverage, but it
    is weaker than the standard laser.  The ripple laser starts small but widens 
    as it goes further out until it reaches a maximum width of about three Vic 
    Vipers stacked vertically.  The advantage of this laser is that if an obstacle
    of enemy destroys part of the ripple laser, the remaining parts can still 
    travel further.  Combine this with 4 Multiples, and you can get tremendous 
    firing coverage.  The ripple laser, at its widest, has a degree of 
    penetration.  It's probably the most versatile laser.
    
    E. Laser: Shoots a small blue plasma shot (think R-Type). Hold down the fire 
    for 2 seconds to charge the shot and fire a larger plasma shot 
    (again think R-Type).  This laser type will also go through multiple enemies.  
    The laser is not wide despite the fireball-like shot, so it will go through
    narrow areas (Bacterian core ships). It also has a modest blast radius when it 
    hits an object, damaging or destroying anything nearby.  Think of it as a 
    shotgun laser.  You will want to assign a different button for the rapid fire
    action so you can fire regular E. Laser shots.  
    
    Please note that the laser aura created from charging does not destroy 
    enemies. You must fire the laser for it to hit anything.
    
    This is the most powerful laser.
    
    Fireblast: This is a flamethrower.  It has a short range, but it is the second
    most powerful laser, and hits a wider than a normal shot. Hold down the 
    attack button to keep the flamethrower going. It will go through enemies 
    and obstacles.  Its range, however, is typically too short to be of much use.
    When you fly up or down, the flame trail will drag along, so you can use 
    it in a sweeping motion.
    
    
    Multiple Types (4 types)
    --------------
    
    Multiple (Freeze): Create an orange oval-shaped shadow that shoots the
    same weapons as your ship.  The multiples will trail your ship
    like a serpent.  Holding down R1 will lock the multiples in place.
    This will allow you to set up and keep a particular formation
    for your multiples.
    
    Multiple (Direction): Create an orange oval-shaped shadow that shoots the
    same weapons as your ship.  The multiples will trail your ship
    like a serpent.  Holding down R1 will lock your ship and multiples in place.
    While holing R1, rotate the control pad to change the multiples' direction
    of fire in 360-degrees (!).  You can hit anything at any angle.
    
    If you have lasers, your multiples will shoot a continuous laser.  As you
    fly up and down, the multiples' laser stream will curve a little up or down
    depending on the direction.  Use the direction ability and you can direct 
    their lasers all over the place like a water hose or a particle thrower. heh
    
    Multiple (Spacing) : Create an orange oval-shaped shadow that shoots the
    same weapons as your ship.  The multiples will stay above and below your 
    ship (first one appears above, second one below, etc.) and stay in this 
    formation. Press and hold down R1 will make the multiple spacing widen further
    until a certain point.  If you press and hold R1 again, the multiple spacing 
    will shrink until a certain point.  (Think of it as analog distance adjustment)
    When you have 4 multiples, they fly in a small V-like formation.
    
    Multiple (Rotate): Create an orange oval-shaped shadow that shoots the
    same weapons as your ship.  The multiples will trail your ship
    like a serpent. Press and hold R1 will cause the multiples to rotate
    counterclockwise around your ship at a set radius from your ship.
    Press and hold R1 again to make the multiples rotate clockwise
    around your ship at a set radius from your ship.
    
    If you have lasers, your multiples will shoot a continuous laser.  As you
    fly up and down, the multiples' laser stream will curve a little up or down
    depending on the direction.  If you have two or more multiples with 
    lasers, you end up creating a sinusoidal laser wave when you rotate them.
    
    
    ? Types (3 types)
    -------
    
    Mega Crush: This acts like a blue capsule.  It will destroy all small and 
    medium-sized enemies and destroy all bullets and small destructable objects.
    
    Force Field: This creates a force field around your ship that will absorb
    3 bullets.  It'll stop a laser hit, but it doesn't absorb it, so you
    do need to get out of the way before the laser registers more hits.  The 
    Force Field does not protect you from collisions with enemy ships, 
    the landscape, or other environmental hazards.
    
    Shield: This puts two rotate "gears" or "ninja stars" in front of your ship.
    This shield will absorb 3 enemy bullets, destroy 3 small ships, or 1 hit from
    a laser weapon (you need to get out of the way quickly).  It only provides
    forward protection so getting hit from behind is bad. heh
    
    
    [6_hitbox]
    The Ship's Hit Box
    
    I'm devoting a separate section for this, because it is key to your survival
    in this game.  Treasure has increased your survival rate by implementing a 
    smaller hit box on the Vic Viper, just as they did to the player ships in 
    Ikaruga.  You can only be destroyed if a bullet or obstacle hits the 
    black cockpit window of your ship.  Use this to your advantage to squeeze 
    by obstacles and ships.
    
    However, if you are using the force field, your hit box is much bigger.  The
    hit box is nearly the entire ship, minus the nose and the rear engine.
    This was probably done to offset the advantage of taking a few hits without
    dying.
    
    
    [7_flight]
    Flight Tips
    
    a)
    Multiples are indestructable and can pass through the landscape, so you can 
    strategically maneuver them into areas your ship can't
    reach.  This is useful to hit enemies in difficult spots or hit boss
    cores that are well-protected.
    
    b)
    Because of the 3-D backgrounds, it is sometimes hard to tell what objects will
    destroy you and what won't.  In addition, some ships fly from the background
    and into your playing field, so it's hard to tell if you will die from a 
    collision. usually, ships that look like they are in the shadows compared 
    to the other brightly colored ships cannot hit you, nor can you hit them.  
    Overall, it is pretty much memorization.
    
    c)
    Some enemy ships will rotate as it flies.  The larger ones have huge wingspans.
    When one of the larger ship's wingspans are horizontal, you can sneak by them
    by flying above or below them quickly.
    
    d)
    You cannot always stay on the left side of the screen.  Some enemies will 
    approach from behind.  In other stages, doors will close quickly and
    STAY LOCKED, so you must move quickly.
    
    e)
    Force fields and shields protect you from lasers, but since a laser is a stream,
    the hits will register quickly, so you need to get out of the way fast.
    
    f)
    If you manage to stay alive for a long time, an enemy ship dubbed the Multiple 
    Stealer (Option Thief) will appear.  If the thief touches your Multiple, it will
    take it away.  I haven't seen this yet, since I die too quickly. heh
    
    g)
    Stages may have you going up, down, diagonally, and in reverse.  Be prepared to
    fight from all angles.  Unfortunately, your ship always faces right. (What
    kind of training do these Gradius pilots get in the flight academy?!)
    
    h)
    Red enemies will always leave power-ups when destroyed.
    
    If you see 8 or more of the same small enemy ships travelling in formation
    (usually a serpentine or line formation), there is a good chance that if 
    you destroy all the enemies in that formation, the last one you destroy 
    will leave a power-up capsule.
    
    i)
    If you destroy enemies quickly or slowly, the game may give you additional
    enemies to shoot down for more points, or it may replace regular enemies
    with red enemies and vice versa.
    
    j)
    If revival start is off, when your ship reappears after a death, a mega
    crush is performed.  This will clear the screen of small enemies and 
    destructable objects.
    
    k)
    Tapping the fire button creates a different firing pattern than just holding 
    it down.
    
    l)
    Bosses do not have to be destroyed.  If you manage to survive a boss fight for 
    long enough (usually 3 minutes or more), the boss will leave on its own.  You 
    get no points for this though.
    
    m)
    In a 2-player game, both ships must share a TOTAL of 4 multiples.  Therefore,
    if one ship has four multiples, the other ship cannot get any.  Cooperate
    with your teammate on how to best distribute the multiples.
    
    n)
    (Contributed by Totoroslayer)
    The default shot is limited by how many shot "pellets" are on the screen (the 
    limit is I think 5 or so).  Therefore, if you are close enough to the enemy 
    while you are firing, you never reach the shot "pellet" limit, and thus the 
    fire is continuous.  This allows for more damage per second the closer you 
    get to the target.  
    
    This is true for the laser as well, except instead of a finite number of 
    pellets, it's a finite length limit.  Therefore, if you close in on the 
    target, you will fire more laser shots.  This is evident on the first boss.  
    In normal mode, if you have 3 options and the laser, and you get up close 
    to the gates and start firing as soon as it's vulnerable, you can blast 
    down the gates and the core, killing the boss before it starts rotating.  
    On the other hand, if you play back (on the left side of the screen), 
    you'll maybe get it to orange before it starts its crazy spin of death.
    
    
    o)
    (Contributed by Totoroslayer)
    Score is awarded per enemy destroyed, not damaged dealt or number of 
    hits landed.  Anything that you can destroy, except enemy ring bullets,
    is worth points.  This include the gates protecting the boss's core and
    gates blocking your way. Also, while it might seem like you get a bonus for
    killing entire "wave" of enemies, you do not.
    
    
    
    
    [8_demo]
    Demo
    
    The demo only shows stage 1-1, but it offers you a basic insight
    into the gameplay.  The CPU plays perfectly.  Too bad there 
    aren't more demos like they had in Ikaruga.
    
    
    [9_stg1]
    Stage 1
    3 sections
    
    [9_stg1_ve]
    Very Easy Mode
    
    The Bacterian forces have launched a sneak attack on one of
    the Gradius space stations.  All Gradius forces are to evacuate
    the space station and counter attack.  Vic Viper T301 engages the
    invaders...START!
    
    You are attacked by waves of small circular enemies.  Destroying
    an entire set of them will give you a capsule.
    
    After this, small fighters flying in isolation or in vertical 
    formation will appear and attack.  Destroying the red ones will
    provide power-up capsules.
    
    As you fly out of the space station and you can see space in the
    background, the first Bacterian Core battle ship appears to 
    attack you.  If you've played previous Gradius games, 
    you know what to do.
    
    The Bacterian Core ship has 4 gates blocking its core.  You must
    destroy the gates and then destroy the core.  The enemy ship will shoot 
    4 parallel lasers at you and then move up or down while rotating to try to
    meet your horizontal level before shooting again.
    
    If you destroy the Bacterian Core ship fast enough, [Correction by Derek
    Williams], you can get up to five capital ships to appear (two, then one, 
    then two) for additional scoring opportunities. This can be done even with 
    one multiple and the laser.[/Derek Williams].  If you do not destroy the
    Bacterian Core ship quickly enough, you will see less than 5 capital ships.
    The fewest I've seen is 2 flying in parallel with a squadron of 20 small 
    fighters in the middle. Destroy all the fighters for a power-up capsule.
    
    These are rectangular capital ship with turrets on the top and bottom 
    of it.
    
    On harder difficulties, the turrets in these ships will fire at you.  
    To maximize scoring, destroy the turrets first.
    
    Once you destroy the turrets, the Vic Viper can fly inside the
    space they occupied to allow you more movement opportunities.
    
    Eventually, you reach space and Vic Viper announces to base that
    he is engaging the enemy.
    
    Small three-ship squadrons and single ships will attack.
    
    You will now enter sea of red planets with a black spot on each of them.
    These planets are apparently called Zelos from the Salamander (Life Force)
    games.  The Zelos will grow in size to monstrous proportions and will
    block your way in some cases. If you shoot at a Zelos rapidly, it will 
    shrink.  Once it reaches a minimum size, it will begin to take damage,
    continuing to shoot at it rapidly will eventually destroy it.  If
    you stop shooting at it at any time, it will begin to grow again.
    
    While you are in this Zelos field, the stage is vertically wider than usual,
    so you can go up and down about 2 screen heights.
    
    While you are dodging of destroying Zelos planets, small enemy ships will 
    continue to attack you.  In addition, there are large circular stations that
    spit out little circular enemies in a fanning out pattern.  You shold destroy 
    the stations as well as the enemies they produce.  Be on the lookout for the
    red circular enemies as they will leave a power capsule when destroyed.
    
    After you clear the Zelos field, you will fight the boss.  If you have 
    fought the stage 3 boss of Ikaruga, this boss should look familiar
    in some ways.  
    
    The boss will materialize from out of nowhere and eventually enclose you.
    Don't be in a position where the ring is or you will obviosuly be destroyed.
    
    The boss is a large C-shaped ring with 6 rectangular firing bays attached to 
    the ring, 3 on the top, 3 on the bottom.  At the unopened end of the ring 
    is a Bacterian Core.  The core is protected by 4 gates.
    
    The firing bays will shoot ring lasers at you.  The ring lasers can be 
    destroyed by your shots.  The core will fire electrical spheres that will 
    fan out. You cannot destroy these with your shots, so dodge them.
    
    After a short time, you will see the core begin to fire two orange parallel 
    lasers, right above and below the path to the core.  The lasers extend all the
    way out.  Once the lasers are fully extended, the entire boss will begin to 
    rotate clockwise. You will have to maneuver in the free space while the boss 
    is rotating.   The boss will continue to fire electrical spheres and any 
    firing bays remaining continue to attack you.
    
    You can either stay in between the orange lasers or stay above or below them.
    Your best chance for survival is to take out as many firing bays as possible 
    before the first set of parallel orange lasers, so you have more breathing 
    room while the boss rotates.
    
    Once the boss stops rotating, the core will deactivate the orange lasers,
    and you can move more freely inside the ring.  After a short time, however
    the core will fire the orange lasers again and rotate faster.
    
    Since the core is protected by gates, you need to destroy the gates before 
    you can hit the core.  If you have 4 multiples, you can get one of them 
    shooting directly at the core, bypassing all the gates.
    
    ALTERNATIVE:  If you have multiples, as the the boss warps into the scene, 
    you can go the upper right or lower right part of the screen, which is 
    OUTSIDE the ring.  The boss will be unable to attack you.  You can position 
    your multiples to attack the core directly and skip the gates.  As far as I 
    can tell, these areas outside the ring aren't safe spots, because you will 
    eventually get hit by the orange lasers as the boss rotates, so if you 
    choose this tactic, you better destroy the boss.
    
    
    [9_stg1_vh]
    Very Hard Mode by Jason (kendarin_bloodtear@yahoo.com)
    
    The Bacterian Core ship moves faster. The pattern is still the same, but you 
    have less time to react.
     
    The Zelos are much more numerous and will actually try to migrate towards 
    your ship instead of their random, erratic movement. This can be quite 
    dangerous as it's not uncommon to see six or seven of them clustering 
    around you. Add in the fact that they die in a sunburst of shots...
    and you see why you need to keep moving.
    
    The stage 1 boss has two cores, instead of one. The boss fires an 
    incredible amount of ring lasers, and when some of the firing bays 
    are destroyed, the remaining fire more lasers to compensate. 
    This can be very dangerous if only one firing bay is left.
     
    The rate at which the boss rotates is cruelly fast. The orange lasers also 
    require much less time to charge.
    
    
    [10_stg2]
    Stage 2
    5 sections
    
    [10_stg2_ve]
    Very Easy Mode
    
    The stage starts off with you flying through space.
    
    A formation of 8 small circular spinning enemies appear from the top.  The 
    next set of 8 small circular spinning enemies appear at the bottom.  The
    third set of 8 small circular spinning enemies appear at the top.  The
    fourth set of 8 small circular spinning enemies appear at the bottom.
    
    After that, 4 sets of 8 spinning H-shaped enemy ships fly horizontally
    from the left in the background.  Once they reach the right of the screen, 
    they will appear in the foreground and fly towards the left. They keep flying 
    horizontally on the same path they flew from before.
    
    While these 4 sets attack, another 2 sets of enemy fighters appear from the 
    right travelling horizontally.  In the background, another 4 sets of fighters
    travel to the right and then turn around and appear in the foreground
    travelling right. 
    
    Then, another 2 sets of fighters appear from the left in the foreground.
    
    You have to be careful not to collide into enemy ships, since there are 
    a lot of them and they are also almost the same color as your ship.
    
    After the last set disappears, you will be attacked by isolated enemy fighters
    that will try to home in on your location, so destroy them or they will start
    chasing you.
    
    Eventually, a cutscene plays where Vic Viper encounters a space-time anomaly 
    and runs into a large Bacterian capital ship and the Vic Viper T301!  You work 
    with your mirror to infiltrate the capital ship through one of two entry points
    and destroy your corresponding eye.
    
    You start approaching the rear of your entry point of the Bacterian capital 
    ship.  Square-shaped enemies will materialize on the screen and try to home in 
    on you.  Eventually, you reach the hatch of the ship. It doesn't take many
    hits to destroy it.
    
    You enter the hatch.  There is now floor and a ceiling.  Turrets are located
    on the floor and ceiling.  They fire small diamond-shaped shots that you 
    cannot destroy, so you have to be careful.  After some turrets, you will see 
    large fighter domes that launch a small line of fighters at you.  You should 
    try to destroy them.  Some domes will flushed against walls, so you can't 
    destroy them without missiles, rear shots, or multiples.  Continue to destroy
    turrets and domes and you will go up a 45-degree upward tunnel to the right.
    Both the left and right sides of the tunnel have fighter domes that launch 
    lines of fighters horizontally and then drop down at you.  Take out the 
    fighters.  The fighter domes placed on the left wall cannot be hit without 
    multiples, rear shots, or multiples.
    
    When you reach the top, the tunnel will go right again, and you will also
    see your mirror fighting in his section of the tunnel.  The next section
    of the path travels horizontally and is very narrow, so you have little 
    room to maneuver.  Enemy turrets and fighter domes line the narrow path, 
    making your life difficult.  Remember that you have a small hit box, 
    and use this to your advantage to avoid enemy fire!  Forward-firing 
    missiles help to take out the turrets, and multiples take out the fighters
    coming of the fighter domes.  The tunnel is divided in half.  You'll see
    your mirror take out enemies in his own path while you attack enemies on
    your path.  If you can, position your multiples into your mirror's path
    and help him take out some enemies.  It'll be helpful later in the game.
    
    The horizontal tunnel will then change to a 45-degree downward tunnel to the
    right.
    
    Small enemy pods will hop along the side walls in this tunnel, both above 
    and below you.  Some will fire at you.  If you leave them alone long 
    enough, they will stop momentarily to fire shots in 6 directions 
    around itself.  At the bottom of the tunnel, the path becomes horizontal
    again.  Turrets and fighter domes line the floor and ceiling at the beginning
    of the horizontal path, so destroy them quickly or rush through.
    
    You'll fight more turrets on the floor and ceiling until a big round organic
    cyclops monster obstructs your right side.  It swings forward to you
    from the ceiling with its two legs, while it shoots electrical spheres from
    its eye in a spreading pattern.  Attack the eye to destroy it.
    
    After this, there are more turrets on the floor and ceiling, but another
    big round organic cyclops monster appears from the left.  Note that some
    parts of the floor are lower than others.  You need to fly your ship 
    underneath the cyclops monster as it swings over to the right, so you
    can hit its eye.  Destroy it fast. 
    
    Right after you destroy it, more enemy hopping pods come from the left.
    At the end of the this path is another cyclops monster blocking your way
    and more turrets on the floor and ceiling.  Destroy the monster to gain
    access to a tunnel going at a 45-degree angle upward to the right.
    
    On your ascent, more enemy hopping pods from above and below will pester you.
    At the top of the tunnel is another cyclops monster, but its eye is at its 
    bottom.  On the other hand, it does not move.  It fires electrical spheres
    from it stationary position.  If you have multiples, position them at the eye 
    level. Otherwise, you need to move your ship up to the left so you can hit it.
    To the right of the monster is a gate that will begin to close.  If it closes
    before you get through, you will die because you will have no way out.  
    If you cannot destroy the monster, fly to the right and get through the gate.
    
    Once you get through the gate, keep to the left until the screen stops
    scrolling.  The computer will tell you to destroy the eye in front of you.
    Do so.  Then, you will say goodbye to your mirror while you continue to travel
    to the right.  Fly underneath the huge brain and then up into the tunnel
    opening on the right.
    
    You'll fly out of the large enemy ship while it explodes into oblivion.
    After you fly into the sky, you will be attacked by square-shaped enemies
    like the ones right before you entered the enemy ships.  They will appear in
    thin air and try to home in on you.  For reach one you destroy, it drops a
    power capsule.
    
    You fly over what appears to be an abandoned industrial complex on another
    planet.
    
    After the swarm subsides, the first mini-boss appears.  It fires 5 
    indestructable small missiles flying in parallel horizontally.  Attack
    the front of the enemy ship.  After firing a few volleys of missiles,
    it will then try to fire one faster missile horizontally.  The mini-boss
    maneuvers quicker now.  Keep attacking the front of the enemy ship.
    
    Once the front is destroyed, you can now attack the core.  The enemy ship
    will try to fire a really wide laser horizontally.  You can see the ship 
    charging up the laser so you have time to dodge.
    
    After you send the mini-boss crashing to the clouds below, more square-shaped
    enemies appear.  Each one you destroy drops a power-up capsule.  The second
    mini-boss will ascend from the clouds to attack you.
    
    This mini-boss extends 4 tentacles and spins them slowly around you.  The end
    of each tentacle will glow red before firing a small diamond-shaped bullet.
    The mini-boss's core is blocked by 4 gates.  If you have multiples, you can
    position them at the core directly.  After spinning the tentacles a bit, it 
    will retract them a little and spin them slowly.  While the tentacles are 
    spinning, they will fire blue lasers.  After firing a few times, it will move
    to the right and spin the tentacles faster.  Because the tentacles spin so 
    fast, the lasers will be fanning out, so you have to dodge in between the 
    lasers.  After this pattern, it will revert back to the first shooting pattern
    of shooting small diamond-shaped bullets at you while spinning its tentacles
    slowly.  It will alternate between these 3 firing patterns until you destroy 
    it or until it leaves.
    
    More square-shaped enemies appear for you to collect power-up capsules while
    a very large boss ship flies in the background from the left.  It will appear 
    on the right.
    
    The boss ship will open up its "arms" to fire a set of parallel blue lasers.
    You can see the 2 cores that must be destroyed.  Again, each core is blocked by
    4 gates.  The arms will close and the ship will fly vertically, fire 4
    parallel blue lasers, move, and then open up its arms again and fire 
    its lasers.  After doing this a few times, it will spin faster and then try to
    ram you by flying to the left.  Dodge this and left it spin back to the right.
    After this, it will open up its arms, tilt in your direction, and fire a 
    lot of parallel blue lasers.  Dodge them and continue attacking.
    
    After you destroy the two cores, the boss will jettison the arms, regenerate
    its two cores, and attach two new arms.  Each arm has its own core. It will
    launch its "harpoon" arms to the left.  The arms is tethered by a laser to
    try to trap you horizontally.  You can get on the outside of the harpoons 
    if you're quick.  Once the harpoons are in pace, the lines will move in a 
    sinusoidal pattern.  It will send blue electrical spheres along the lines.
    They will gradually get larger unless you rapidly fire at them to keep 
    them small.  After this wave of spheres, it will send small blue spheres 
    in parallel with each other along the lines.  The top sphere fires a blue 
    laser down while the bottom one fires a blue laser up.  Then, the boss 
    will retract its harpoon arms, reposition itself, and fire them out to the 
    left again. It will repeat its attack pattern from last time.  After this
    pattern, it will then detach its arms, fly them to the left, orient them 
    vertically and launch its harpoons.  It is trying to trap you in a small 
    vertical space.  Again, you have the chance to get outside the harpoon lines,
    but without multiples, you can't attack the cores in the arms. The harpoon 
    lines will move in a sinusoidal pattern while electrical spheres travel 
    along it.  It will retract the arms and repeat the harpoon attack pattern
    all over again until you destroy it or it decides to leave.
    
    Destroy this boss, and it will crash and burn into the clouds below.
    
    
    [10_stg2_vh]
    Very Hard Mode by Jason (kendarin_bloodtear@yahoo.com)
    
    The hatch you shoot away takes many more shots than normal. From
    experimenting, it looks like you need to shoot a charged E. Laser 
    a couple times or have at least three multiples.  Otherwise, it doesn't
    look like you can blast out the hatch in time to prevent yourself from 
    colliding with the hatch.  After further replays, with the normal 
    shot, no missiles, and no multiples, you do indeed need to hug the 
    hatch for a moment or two to make your shots register faster, or 
    you will not have enough firepower to destroy it.  In all practicality, 
    this is not something you'll have to worry about; you'd have to do this
    *intentionally*.
     
    Turrets literally line the entire path of both paths of the first time you
    see your multiple; while he takes them all out no problem, the help is 
    still a must. However, this can be hard to do, as you have an obnoxiously 
    large amount of enemies to contend with, yourself.
     
    The enemies that bounce around and fire six shots in lower difficulties 
    now fire closer to about forty or so. I'm not kidding. Two or three 
    of them will fill a screen very swiftly.
     
    The cyclops monsters now fire MUCH faster; their rate of fire is even 
    twice as fast as the first boss's rate of fire for its similar weapon. 
    As many as 28 orbs of energy will be on-screen at one time from ONE monster.
     
    The first miniboss fires more than just blue missiles; there are three 
    other colors. Green ones trail diamond bullets, red ones explode in 
    sunbursts of them, yellow ones explode in waves of them that seek you out. 
    When it goes to its laser mode, it sometimes fires smaller lasers in between 
    charging. It also sometimes charges to the other side of the screen to fire 
    waves of diamond bullets and red lasers; these ones curve to arc towards 
    the Vic Viper.
     
    The second miniboss is just sick... namely, when it starts spinning 
    its tentacles wildly and fires lasers. Though it should go without saying, 
    the absolute number of lasers it fires is insane and you should concentrate 
    *solely* on dodging.
     
    The third miniboss is no different than usual, just more aggressive.
     
    The true boss of the stage fires the same red lasers the first miniboss 
    occasionally did, and sometimes it fires a forward blue laser when it has 
    its laser tethers out, forcing you to stay in the middle of the tethers in 
    front of the two main cores.
    
    
    [11_stg3]
    Stage 3
    5 sections
    
    [11_stg3_ve]
    Very Easy Mode
    
    The Vic Viper descends into the industrial complex to destroy what
    appears to be a place where additional Bacterian machinery are
    manufacturered.
    
    Like past stages, you will be attacked by 4 sets of 8 small
    round enemies to get yourself powered up.  The first set starts at
    the top, followed by the next set at the bottom, followed by another
    set at the top, and the last set at the bottom.
    
    After that you will be attack by small 3-fighter squadrons, one
    set at the top, one set at the bottom, and one set in the middle.
    The middle set has a red ship that has a power-up capsule.  These
    fighters simply travel to the left and won't hunt you.
    
    After this, minature versions of the Bacterian core boss appear
    from the left. Three appear and then two more appear slightly behind
    them.  When they get into position, they will open up their fronts and 
    fire orange lasers to the right.
    
    You can attack these ships from any perspective.  After a certain
    time, they close up their fronts and cores and become indestructable.
    
    You will then be attacked by 2 formations of fighters, one coming from
    above and one coming from below.  They first appear in the shadows, 
    cross each other, and then appear in the foreground and try to cross
    again.  If you cannot destroy them, you cna slip in between them, but
    these fighters will try to follow you, so be careful of collisions.
    
    You will fight another pair of these fighters in line formation that
    will try to put the squeeze on you again.
    
    Then, a set of 5 mini-Bacterian Core ships will approach from the right
    and try to fire at you while small fighters try to collide with you.  These
    fighters turn quickly, so shoot them quickly or dodge.
    
    After this, the Vic Viper reaches the bottom of the descent and proceeds
    to the right.
    
    You will be attacked by a medium-sized ship.  It will shoot parallel blue
    lasers while also shoooting diamond-shaped bullets at your current location.
    
    After destroying that, you will enter a pathway with a ceiling and floor.
    Turrets are placed on the floor and ceiling.  Missiles that travel along 
    the ground are good here.  As you go to destroy the turrets and domes, 
    cannons on two legs walk from the left.  When the cannons reach an unlevel 
    surface, they will hop up or down and continue walking. Be careful not to 
    collide with them while they are hopping.
    
    You will reach fighter domes and several turrets on the ceiling and floor.
    Meanwhile, two small cicular enemies will roll along the surface of the 
    ceiling and floor and shoot out several diamond-shaped bullets at you.
    
    The path narrows, and there are two large gates that will block
    your way.  Shoot the red sensor on the gate to destroy it.  Behind the 
    large gates are more turrets, a cicular enemy rolling along the 
    surface, and another gate.  Walking cannons will continue to approach from 
    the left.
    
    After that, you will encounter a dome on the ceiling and a dome on the floor 
    with some turrets supporting them.  The domes spit out small circular
    enemies like those that start each stage.  The path now narrows to the top
    and a gate blocks the way.  Right below the gate are 3 fighter domes that 
    release a line of enemies each.  They first fly right to fill up the cavity
    and then fly up to try to ram you.  On the ceiling are additional turrets.
    The domes only launch one set of fighters each.
    
    Once you are in the cavity fly down and destroy the gate, but watch out for
    the rolling enemies behind it.  They are firing bullets behind the gate.
    Blow up the gate and enemies and attack the next gate, blocking the next 
    cavity.  Above this gate are 3 fighter domes.  They will each launch a line
    of fighters that go out to the right and then fly down to try to crash into
    you.
    
    Defeat them and you will see fighter domes on the celing and floor.  These
    domes launch fighters that will block your way and then try to fly left.
    
    After this are two medium-sized ships that appear from the shadows and retreat
    slowly.  While you are dealing with them, cannons will walk from the left to
    snipe you while more turrets greet you on the floor and ceilings. There
    will be a red cannon walking around, so destroy it if you need a power 
    capsule.
    
    After the two ships retreat, the screen will stop over a large gate on the
    bottom. You will be greeted by another set of large ships that will approach 
    from the top right or bottom right.  They will travel to the left and turn 
    towards the middle of the screen and then fly to the right.  If you stay at
    the bottom or the top, you can avoid the ships.
    
    While you are doing this, more cannons will walk around and try to harass 
    you with bullet fire.  Although you can hide from the ships, you can't hide
    from the cannons as easily.
    
    After the flying ships disappear and cannons walk away, the screen begins
    to scroll down.  You must destroy the door by attacking the red sensor.
    The red sensor is stick up, so even if you have no power-ups, put your ship
    on the floor and shoot the sensor.
    
    As you descend the tunnel, two rolling red balls will each roll up the left 
    and right shooting at you.  Destroy each one for a power-up capsule.
    
    More turrets greet you along the walls, and be sure to destroy the red ones
    for power-up capsules.
    
    Fighter domes placed in the left and right walls will launch fighters to
    ram into you.  The dome on the right is easy to destroy, but not the left.
    Be careful of the turrets below them.
    
    Four fighter domes hang off the ceiling and drop fighters down.  The fighters
    then travel left and right past each other.  Again, the right domes are
    easy to destroy while the left ones are not.  Watch out for more turrets
    below.  They will be firing in the fighter cover.
    
    You will have to take a left or right path and the ceiling of each has a dome
    that is a flamethrower.  If you can't destroy them, time the flames to proceed.
    The paths rejoin, and more turrets await in the middle, and two cannons will 
    walk in and drop from above, so watch out.  The path divides again, and each
    path has a fighter dome in the ceiling.  Let them launch the fighters and 
    destroy them.  Turrets are placed on the underbelly of the middle block,
    so destroy those.
    
    When the path rejoins, a pair of flamethrowers will periodically fire.
    Time the flames to get through or destroy them.  Each flamethrower covers
    only half the path, so destroying one will give you space to fly through.
    
    Once you get through that, you will be in a tunnel that snakes left to right.
    Turrets line the floor and ceiling.  Unfortunately, large Bacterian Core ships
    will travel through this tunnel and fire four lasers at you.  You can try to 
    destroy them or let them slip by you.  There is room to dodge above and below 
    them.  Even if you get caught in the vertical part of the winding path, you can
    still avoid death (remember your small hit box!).
    
    Towards the bottom of the winding path are flamethrowers, so you have to contend
    with turrets, Bacterian Core ships, and flamethrowers.  Attack the flamethrowers
    to clear yourself a path.  Eventually, you reach the bottom, and the last 
    Bacterian Core ship leaves to the right.
    
    As you travel right, another pair of flamethrowers block your way.  Destroy
    them or time your way through the flames.  More turrets are on the floor and
    ceiling, so destroy them and pick up some power-up capsules.  Then, destroy
    the gate blocking you.
    
    Now you will reach fighter domes on both the ceiling and floor. The domes will 
    continuously launch fighters to obstruct your path, so you must shoot your way 
    through the fighters if you cannot destroy the domes.  Notice there are gaps
    between the domes so use those as safe spots to destroy the fighters.  You will
    be basically moving between safe spots until you clear the domes.
    
    Now the path will split into an upper and lower path.  Large ships will emerge
    from huge domes and fly inside these paths, so you must destroy the ships.
    If you have multiples, you can take out the domes as well.  The twin path
    will split into 3 paths, each with turrets. Clear that and the paths join
    back into one.
    
    You are now in a tunnel, and large Bacterian Core ships are flying to the left
    at you!  They spin as they travel.  You can destroy them or fly above or
    below them when they are completely horizontal.  Even if you destroy the ship's
    core, they remain on-screen for another second, so you could still end up
    colliding into the ship, so be careful.  In case, you cannot time your way
    through the ships, the tunnel has trenches in the ceiling and floor where you 
    can hide until each ship passes you.  Simply move from one trench to the next
    until you reach a large vertical cavity.
    
    As you enter the cavity and the last Bacterian Core ships leaves to the left,
    waves of small circular enemies will approach from both the top and bottom of
    the screen as you descend.  Destroying the red enemies at the end of each 
    formation will result in a power-up capsule. These little enemies will fly 
    vertically and then arc towards the middle of the screen before flying off,
    so be careful.
    
    After this attack, you will continue to descend slowly and then be persued by
    the stage boss: a giant mech with four spider legs!  The mech will crawl 
    slowly up the tunnel.  You must watch the legs carefully, and sneak 
    underneath the legs when they are lifted.  Watch out for the tip of the 
    leg and remember your hit box!  You cannot stay at the top of the screen, 
    because the mech is trying to get to the top of the screen as well.
    
    The mech will fire ring-shaped lasers you can destroy with your shots, so
    get through its legs while destroying its lasers.
    
    The core is the weak spot, and you can hit this boss anywhere on its body, 
    but only when the core lights up blue (when the announcer says, "Attack the 
    core!").  This boss takes a lot of hits from the regular shot, so it can be a
    long battle.
    
    If you have no multiples or any angular shots, you will have to get in between
    the mech's legs on the left side and attack from there.
    
    As you descend, avoid the blocks in the way, but also watch out for turrets
    installed on them.  They can be on the top, on the underbelly, or on the
    sides of these pillars.
    
    As the mech gets near the blocks, you will see its core turn orange to fire
    a nasty laser.  The mech will sweep the laser across the field.  You must
    hide underneath a pillar to avoid getting destroyed by the laser.
    
    Once it stops firing, it will eventually collide with the pillars, dislodging
    them.  These pillars will fall to the ground, so dodge them from crushing you.
    
    You'll eventually run into four blocks, so when the mech dislodges the first
    two blocks, they will bounce off the other set of blocks, so you must pay
    attention to their trajectories.
    
    On the screen stops scrolling, the mech will crawl to the bottom of the screen.
    It will continue to fire ring-shaped lasers, but watch its core.  When it is
    orange, it is about to fire a photon bomb at your current position.  When the 
    photon bomb reaches that position, it will explode.  The core of the explosion
    will kill you but not the ring of the explosion.  It is not advised that you 
    stay in between the legs during this, although there is just enough room to
    dodge it if you can lead the bomb towards one of the legs and then move to the 
    other leg quickly.
    
    You'll have to avoid these attacks until the mech starts moving again.
    The pattern of pillars, sweeping orange lasers, ring-shaped lasers, and
    turrets will continue until it stops again to repeat the photon bomb.
    You should be able to destroy the boss before this happens.
    
    I believe the boss will leave after this second attack barrage if you
    do not manage to destroy it.
    
    If you do destroy the boss, watch its body collapse and fall into
    the tunnel with its legs outstretched towards its explosive end.
    
    
    [11_stg3_vh]
    Very Hard Mode by Jason (kendarin_bloodtear@yahoo.com)
    
    The mini-Bacterian core ships fire near endlessly. The only time they cease 
    is when they leave, and they do so swiftly.
     
    In the tunnel you enter, the flamethrowers that you normally only see later 
    on in the level pepper it instead. Expect to see ten before the direction 
    of the scrolling changes.
     
    As the two ships that come from the shadows emerge, a third one comes from 
    the left side of the screen. It *will* run into you if you let it; get 
    around it quick.
     
    The part where the screen scrolls down instead of to the right is generally 
    the same, but with more turrets and ships flying at you. However, at the 
    part where the Bacterian Core ships fly along the path with you, two more 
    than usual come at you, and they fly closer together. In addition, each 
    time the winding path goes downwards, a pair of flamethrowers awaits. 
    In addition, it's not wise to try and destroy the Core Ships; the gates 
    retaliate in their death with suicide bullets and this will usually result 
    in your demise, since you have little room to maneuver.
     
    When you're in the tunnel with the Bacterian Core ships flying to the 
    left at you, trying to destroy them, again, is not wise. The gates 
    retaliate in death with suicide bullets, again, and with almost no room to 
    maneuver, you're signing your own death warrant. Sadly, the walking turrets 
    that were in the level earlier will chase you and fire at you. At 
    least some of them drop powerups.
     
    The Spider Mech boss is more intense. It fires many, many more ring lasers, 
    and there are more blocks for you to avoid, move around, and avoid 
    being crushed by. Also, EVERY block has at least two turrets waiting for you. 
    That results in at least twenty or thirty diamond shots coming at you faster 
    than you realize. Otherwise, the boss is the same... until it fires the 
    orange photon bombs. It fires many of them, not just one, and the blast 
    radius is a bit larger. Odds are, if you're between its legs along the side
    walls when it fires these, you're dead, no question.
    
    
    [12_stg4]
    Stage 4
    5 sections
    
    [12_stg4_ve]
    Very Easy Mode
    
    As usual, you will be attacked by 4 sets of 8 small round enemies to 
    get yourself powered up.  The first set starts at the top, followed 
    by the next set at the bottom, followed by another set at the top, 
    and the last set at the bottom.
    
    You will then be attacked by large rectangularly shaped organic
    monsters with one eye and mouth.  They will shoot 2 sets of 
    eyeball bullets at you in a slight V-formation, followed
    by one or 3 orange lasers.  You can destroy the eyeball bullets.
    
    While the monsters attack, small green creatures with tentacles
    flying around in a snakelike formation.  Be on the look out for a 
    red version of this creature, because they have the power up capsule.
    
    You will be attacked by more of these small green creatures appearing in
    snake-like formation and isloated groups of 3 or 5 while more large
    monsters with the one eye and mouth appear.  It's very easy not to 
    be paying attention to one or the other, so you could collide
    with a small creature or get hit by an orange laser while
    fighting.
    
    Eventually, you'll pass by a large moon in the background followed
    by a large organic entrance.  More of those one-eyed organic 
    monsters will come flying to the right at faster speeds.  It'll be 
    hard to destroy them all, so you may need to dodge some.  When you hit
    them, some will be stunned, so use this opportunity to maneuver.
    
    This remainder of this stage will remind you heavily of Life Force's
    (Salamander) stage 1.  You will enter an large organic body.
    
    As you enter the tunnel, blue and red amoebas will slowly try to
    ram into you while more small green creatures fly around in a snake-like
    formation trying to harass you.  Watch out for the ceilings and floors
    as they have brown organic tubes that act as turrets.  They will fire
    diamond-shaped bullets that you cannot destroy.
    
    You'll also notice the ceiling and floor moving in alternatiing 
    directions.
    
    The tunnel will be obstructed by organic spheres tethered to the
    ceiling and floor by sinew-like extensions.  You must destroy the
    spheres.  When you destroy the spheres, the sinews will slowly retract
    while releasing green bullets.  You can destroy the green bullets, but
    be careful not to stand to close to a sinew or you might get hit by
    a bullet as it is collapsing.
    
    There is a whole bunch of these organic spheres guarded by the organic
    tubes, so dodging abilities are important.  Since the sinews block
    your shots, you need to clear them before you can attack the tubes.
    
    The alternating floor and ceiling changes the position of the spheres,
    so the spheres may end up close or further away from you.
    
    After you clear several of these spheres, you'll see more "mountainous"
    floors and ceilings swaying back and forth.  Sometimes, these organic
    mountains pass each other in such a way as to block off the path.
    You need to time the moving mountains and move through when there is 
    an opening.  Amoebas will fly slowly out of the walls to attack you
    while you are doing this, so it can be hard to maneuver around.
    
    As you pass by the first set of criss-crossing mountains, you'll find
    floating organic spheres that will reveal its claws and harpoon them
    onto the landscape to block you.  Just like the other organic spheres
    from earlier, you need to destroy the sphere, so the sinews are
    destroyed.
    
    The next section has moving mountains that you have to fly through, but
    there will still be amoebas to harass you.  If you have no multiples to
    help you attack these amoebas, the next section will be hard.
    
    You will pass over a high mountain and run into a moving upside-down 
    mountain that nearly is as high as the screen.  Notice that there is 
    a small pit on the ground.  You need to put your ship there, and let this
    upside-down mountain pass over you.  Now, fly to the other side and look
    for a small depressed area on the ground.  Get your ship there, because
    the upside-down mountain will make a second pass.  Remember your hit box!
    The upside-down mountain will skim by you.
    
    After you pass the moving mountains, you will reach an organic wall.
    Hitting the wall will cause parts of it to disappear temporarily.
    Fly into the openings you create but be mindful that the wall will 
    grow back.  If you have mutiples, try to create a wide area around
    you. You don't want the wall growing back where your ship is flying.
    Unfortunately, it is somewhat difficult to tell if a wall is destroyed.
    If a wall piece is bright pink/red, it's a wall that you must destroy.
    
    As you pass through the first wall, there will be more organic tubes 
    on the floor and ceiling shooting at you.  Some pods will appear
    on the floor and ceiling spewing green bullets into the air, but 
    watch your back.  An organic worm will fly in from the left.  As 
    it flies through and snakes around the stage, more pods appear to 
    spew green bullets into the air.  Only when the snake passes through will
    the pods retract back into the floor and ceiling, if you haven't already
    destroyed them.  The worm can be destroyed by hitting its glowing tail.
    If you destroy it, watch out for more worms flying out of the ground
    or ceiling with additional support from the green bullet-spewing pods.
    
    You will reach another organic wall that must be broken down to pass.
    Remember the wall regenerates so move quickly.  You will reach a small 
    clearing followed by a really long organic wall.  You will be firing to
    break down the wall without it regenerating back on your ship.  There
    are pockets of amoebas in the wall, with a red one holding a power-up
    capsule.  You're ultimately forced to the very right side of the screen
    to prevent the wall from growing back on you.
    
    As you travel through this dense organic wall, you will see bumps form on
    the wall surface and travel right.  There is a bug behind the bump which 
    you can try to destroy if you strip away the wall it is traveling through.
    
    [Nash from Gamefaqs]
    With type 2 multiples, I can actually move around the screen in a circle, 
    but this is a little riskier than the typical method I use, which is just 
    leaving a string of options behind the ship and "sweeping" up and down 
    which racks up points, is perfectly safe and kills those bugs.  Yep, you 
    can kill them. Using the sweep method above, I hit them before they 
    touch the ship.
    [/Nash]
    
    [scientist pg from Gamefaqs]
    With Type 3 multiples, you can stay at the far right, and move the 
    spacing options up and down to kill some of the bugs easily.
    [/scientist pg]
    
    Once you clear the large organic wall, you'll be attacked above and below
    by amoebas.  Quickly dispose of them and get the power-up capsules from the
    red amoebas.
    
    You will now approach 4 very sharp teeth blocking a heart.  Boss time!
    
    The heart will be protected by an organic film.  You must destroy
    the moving "eye" on this film to expose the heart to your attacks.
    The teeth will retract into their holes.  
    
    The first attack will be to release totem poles out of the holes, creating
    two columns that move vertically.  Each pole has blue electrical bolt 
    rotating about the axis of the poles.  The electricity is only a danger 
    if it is completely horizontal and it turns ORANGE. If the electricity 
    is moving away or towards you (blue), you cannot be hit by it.
    
    There will be gaps in the poles to allow your ship to get closer to the 
    heart to attack it, but since the poles move, you have to keep moving as 
    well.  Eventually, the poles will all retract back into the holes.
    
    The next attack will be by the teeth.  One tooth will briefly pop out part way
    briefly, indicating to you that it will be the one to extend out fully. The 
    holes will try to turn towards you to try to hit you with the teeth.  Also,
    the teeth are curved, so watch out as you may miscalculate the teeth's
    positioning and get skewered.
    
    In the next attack, the holes will spew out lots of green bullets.  You can 
    destroy the bullets, but there are a LOT OF THEM.  You need to have very good
    dodging abilities or some multiples to give you a wider firing range.
    You can see the hole shake rapidly right before it erupts.
    
    The next attack will be to release a moving flame trail from one of the holes.
    You can see which hole the flame will emerge easily.  The flame trail will 
    follow you around the field.  The trail is impervious to your weapons and 
    will block you from getting a clear shot at the heart.  The flame trail
    only goes out a certain distance before returning to the hole, so it is 
    possible to lead the flame trail around so that you waste its movement
    ability and still leave you with a clear shot at the heart.
    
    For the next attack, you will see eyes come out of the holes and yellow
    sight lines.  Try to lead the eyes away from you.  When 3 of the 4 the eyes 
    glow, they will soon fire lasers to create a laser grid.  One eye, 
    however, will not glow.  While the lasers are out, the eye that didn't 
    glow will shoot lasers in a sweeping motion.  Remember your hit box! 
    Dodge the lasers and wait until the boss retracts the lasers and eyes.  
    While the lasers restrict your movement, your weapons can still pass 
    through the lasers and hit the heart.  Note that the eye that doesn't glow
    somehow has a power capsule near it.  I don't know when or why this occurs.
    
    The attack patterns will now repeat with the totem poles.  When the eye
    lasers attack comes around, it will be the upper eye that shoots the lasers
    in a sweeping manner.  When the holes are erupting green bullets, the 
    eruptions are more violent, ejecting more bullets.
    
    Destroy the heart, and it will have a heart attack and explode in a fiery 
    end.  (That was some heartburn...)
    
    
    [12_stg4_vh]
    Very Hard Mode by Jason (kendarin_bloodtear@yahoo.com)
    
    Aside from intensity, there are few changes until you actually get into 
    the living stage. The circular organisms that are tethered to the stage 
    release many little green capsule shots as they die, and small "sunbursts" 
    of them fire at the bases where they're connected to the background.
     
    A little later in the stage, streams of parasitic-looking bugs course along 
    the ceiling and the floors of the area. This is rather dangerous with the 
    amoebas and the moving stage, leaving you almost NO room to maneuver. 
    Remember your hit box!
     
    The rest of the stage is largely is the same, save for more intensity. 
    During the point where the pinkish walls regenerate, many, many more of the 
    bugs that burrow through attack than usual. They criss-cross and leave 
    surprisingly little room to manuever, and attack from all directions. 
    Unless you're extremely proficient in handling these walls, prepare to lose 
    many, many lives.
     
    The boss is also more intense, as per usual. While the lasers from its 
    totems still only damage you if they're orange, the lasers are "wider", per 
    se. They have a better chance of hitting you.
     
    When the boss uses its fire trail, the front end of it fires little fireballs 
    akin to projectiles seen in Life Force at one point. The end of the tail 
    explodes in little sunbursts of six, seven, or eight of them.
     
    When the eyes focus lasers upon you, each of the three base lasers moves a 
    little after firing. Bear this in mind so you don't get trapped.
     
    The boss's protective layer over the cell regenerates much, much faster. 
    You'll only have about five seconds to damage the boss when it's gone.
    
    
    [13_stg5]
    Stage 5
    4 sections
    
    [13_stg5_ve]
    Very Easy Mode
    
    This is a short stage, but this stage will definitely test your
    flying skills and your understanding of physics. Vic Viper is flying
    into an asteroid field and encountering an enemy space platform and an
    improved Bacterian Core boss ship.
    
    As usual, you will be attacked by 4 sets of 8 small round enemies to 
    get yourself powered up.  The first set starts at the top, followed 
    by the next set at the bottom, followed by another set at the top, 
    and the last set at the bottom.  Asteroids, however, start appearing
    with the last set, so don't be so hasty to rush to the right.
    
    -------------------
    Asteroids of varying sizes will begin drifting through space.  The
    speed of the asteroids varies, so speed ups and a good flying skills are
    needed here.  There are basically three sizes of asteroids: small, medium,
     and large.  
    
    The small ones can be destroyed with a few shots.  Small asteroids also 
    come in brown or red colors.  The red asteroids leave behind a power up 
    capsule when desttroyed.  Because there is so many asteroids and enemies 
    on the screen, you may not be able to spot a red asteroid when you see it.
    The small ones drift the fastest.
    
    Medium asteroids are a little larger than small ones.  They will
    absorb more hits before being destroyed, but they will not fragment into
    smaller asteroids.
    
    Large asteroids take more shots to destroy than medium ones.  When they 
    are destroyed, however, they split into 4 medium asteroids than can be 
    destroyed into smaller asteroids.  These drift slower than the 
    medium asteroids.
    
    Asteroids appear from the right side of the screen in seemingly random
    paths.  When asteroids collide, they will bounce off each other.  They
    will bounce off in a way that generally follows real physics (i.e.
    angle of incidence equals angle of reflection, in the absence of 
    friction).  After they bounce off, they will resume their drift to the
    left.
    
    --------------------
    
    As the asteroids star appearing, you will see enemy fighter ships
    fly behind small asteroids (almost as if they are pushing the 
    asteroids).  In order to destroy the enemy fighter ships, you have
    to destroy the asteroid they are hiding behind.  If you fly past
    any of these enemy ships, they will immediately fly towards your ship
    in a nearly vertical line in an attempt to collide into you.  Therefore,
    you do not want to past right next to them; give yourself some distance.
    Once you dodge the enemy fighter ship, they will continue on their path
    and go off the screen; they will not pursue you.  Some red enemy ships
    will either hide behind asteroids or fly by themselves.  If you pass them,
    they will also try to fly towards you in a nearly vertical line.  
    Destroying these red ships, however, will allow you to get power up
    caspsules from them.
    
    After a few waves of enemy fighters, you will begin to see a pair of 
    dome-like ships pushing a large asteroid forward.  At some point, they 
    will stop pushing the asteroid, fly backwards in parallel, and fire
    long orange lasers.  The lasers stay on the screen until the ships fly
    off to the right.  The lasers, like other orange lasers in the game, 
    restrict your movement, so you must destroy these ships before they fire.
    If they manage to fire, you can line up a multiple and try to destroy
    them quicker.  Some of the dome-like ships will be red.  They will
    leave power up capsules when destroyed.
    
    After these ships, you will see two squadrons of enemy ships come
    from above and below.  They will fly past each other in the middle.
    If you are unable to destroy them, you can fly in between the gap the
    ships make.  After this, another two squadrons will do the same
    thing.
    
    You will fly through more flying asteroids, including some large 
    "egg-shaped" stationary asteroids that simply tilt on its center 
    when it is hit with an asteroid. Fly through when there is an opening.
    Two sets of small enemy fighter fly in a wave-like fashion to the left.
    Destroy the red ones for power up capsules.
    
    Once past that, you will approach a set of space platforms.  The platforms
    are uneven shapes and drift up and down.  In some cases, two platforms
    will drift close together to touch, temporarily blocking your path.
    You have to wait until the platforms drift away to pass through.
    
    Turrets and fighter domes line the surface and underbelly of these platforms.
    Turrets fire as they have done in the past.  Fighter domes will release
    a set of 8 fighters to attack you.  These fighters move mostly horizontally 
    but will try to negotiate through the platforms.
    
    Asteroids will continue to drift through the splace platforms, so expect
    many asteroids bouncing off the platforms in pinball-like fashion.  This
    will make it difficult for you to fly through, so remember your hitbox!
    If you cannot destroy the asteroids in time, dodge them.  You can squeeze
    through a lot of tight areas.
    
    Like the section with the Zelos planets in stage 1, you can move up and down
    more than one screen.  This give you multiple paths to travel through.
    Some paths through the platforms may be slightly easier than others due 
    to the placement of turrets and fighter domes.  You should memorize this
    section of the stage if you want an easier time.
    
    Eventually, you will reach an area of the platform blocked by three gates.
    Asteroids are confined behind these gates.  As soon as you blow a gate up,
    all the asteroids inside will fly out to the left like shaking a soda can
    and opening the lid afterwards.  It is not a good idea to destroy all three
    gates, because you'll have to contend with a lot more asteroids.  At this
    point, vertical movement is now confined to one screen.  You have left
    the semi-free vertical movement section.
    
    Behind the three gates and asteroids are fighter domes, three on the ceiling,
    three on the floor.  They will launch fighters, as usual.  Destroy the domes
    or clear out the fighters.  Continue to watch out for more asteroids.
    
    After this, you will see a large mountain and upside-down mountain next
    to each other, like from stage 1 of Gradius I (game from a long time ago).
    
    Destroy the turrets on the ceiling, and then maneuver you way through
    the winding path, all the while shooting and destroying lots of small 
    asteroids trying to squeeze through the same path.
    
    After you clear that, two waves of small enemy fighters will fly to the
    left in a wave-like fashion.  Destroy the red ones for power up capsules.
    
    You will once again see the large "egg-shaped" stationary asteroids that 
    simply tilt on its center when it is hit with an asteroid.  There are more
    of them now, so watch their rotations carefully, because there are a lot
    of small asteroids hitting these things, causing them to rotate often. 
    Fly through when there is an opening.  
    
    After you clear this section, you will be attacked by two waves of small 
    enemy fighters will fly to the left in a wave-like fashion.  Destroy the 
    red ones for power up capsules.
    
    Note: In the next section, there are a lot of asteroid fields and a lot
    of bullets.  Having speed ups will be very useful in the next section,
    as you will be doing a lot of flying around.
    
    Now you will approach a very dense asteroid field.  The boss will 
    approach from the left.  The Bacterian Core boss flies around in four 
    directions, pushing away the asteroids as it passes through.  
    You have more vertical room in this section, so you can go up and down
    more than one screen. The boss can go from the bottom of the screen 
    and appear at the top and vice versa if you stay in one place.
    
    You must dodge the ship while clearing a path through the asteroid field.
    Red asteroids are in this field, so you can still get power up capsules.
    
    The boss will drop mines that explode, release a large number of 
    diamond-shaped bullets in all directions.  If you can, USE THE ASTEROIDS 
    FOR COVER.  The enemy bullets will end up destroying the asteroids if 
    you stay ahead of the bullets.  If you cannot do this, you must 
    weave your way through the bullet swarm.
    
    Eventually, the boss will move over to the right, open its wings to reveal
    6 cannons, plus 2 on the ship itself.  The core will also become 
    accessible to attack.  Again, you must destroy all the gates before 
    being able to hit the core.  You cannot attack the cannons.  At this 
    point, you lose the extra vertical space and are confined to one screen.
    
    Not only will the boss fire at you, it will also pull all the asteroids
    TO THE RIGHT.  Not only must you dodge the enemy boss's fire, you must
    also dodge the asteroids flying from the left.  The asteroids will 
    drift to right until they hit the boss, where they sit until destroyed.
    
    The boss will begin by firing a massive swarm of diamond bullets at you.
    You can either try dodging the bullets or USE THE ASTEROIDS FOR COVER.
    The enemy bullets will destroy the asteroids instead of you.  In some
    cases you may want to stop firing to let the asteroids block
    the enemy shots.  Keep in mind that if the bullets destroy a large
    asteroid, the asteroid will fragment into small asteroids.
    
    After this attack, it will launch long orange lasers from the cannons.
    They will fire one after another or all at once. Large asteroids 
    will temporarily block the laser until destroyed into 4 smaller pieces.  
    Smaller ones are destroyed outright.  Orange lasers will restrict
    your movement, since they last a while.  When the 6 cannons all fire
    simultaneously, you should use the opportunity to attack the core.
    
    The attack patterns continue in this fashion until it leaves or you
    destroy the boss.
    
    
    [13_stg5_vh]
    Very Hard Mode by Jason (kendarin_bloodtear@yahoo.com)
    
    About 35% of the asteroids in this stage are the large ones that split into 
    smaller ones. There's also roughly double the number of them than in very 
    easy mode.
     
    The stage is otherwise roughly the same as in very easy mode, aside from 
    the obvious fact that there are more turrets and asteroids. The movement 
    of the base ships and whatnot is a bit less forgiving; I may be off 
    on this, but it feels like they stay together longer if you're trapped 
    within them.
     
    When the screen is only one screen wide, and you get to the point where 
    there are three hatches with asteroids backing up against them, I 
    actually must advise *against* what was recommended for very easy mode; 
    if you only open one of the three corridors, they will clog with asteroids 
    very quickly and any other asteroids will just as quickly funnel into 
    whichever one you have opened. This isn't fun.
     
    When the boss comes into the very dense asteroid field, it behooves you to 
    burrow into the field as best as you can, as quickly as you can. The boss 
    drops the mines that it did before but much faster; at the rate they're 
    dropped, you can expect three or four to be onscreen at the same time. 
    They explode one right after the other; this floods the screen with bullets 
    rather quickly.
     
    When the boss finally faces you, the amount of diamond-shaped bullets changes 
    from a swarm to a veritable wall. You may actually benefit from ceasing fire 
    entirely at this point, or at least until you have an opening that lets you 
    breathe for a full second.
    
    
    [14_stg6]
    Stage 6
    9 sections
    
    [14_stg6_ve]
    Very Easy Mode
    
    To start, you will be attacked by 4 sets of 8 small round enemies to 
    get yourself powered up.  The first set starts at the top, followed 
    by the next set at the bottom, followed by another set at the top, 
    and the last set at the bottom.
    
    Then, two more sets of these small round enemies travel in wave-like
    fashion to the left at the middle of the stage.  They criss-cross
    each other multiple times to give the illusion of making rings.  
    Shoot them or dodge them.  Destroying one set completely will allow
    you to grab a power-up capsule.
    
    A squadron of fighters will fly to the left above and below these
    two intertwining enemies.  When the fighters pass over you, they
    will make a wide 180-degree U-turn arc past each other and then 
    fly off to the right.
    
    Red fighters will come from the left in the middle of the stage
    and make a wide 180-degree U-turn arc past each other and then 
    fly off to the left.  Destroying them will allow you to grab a lot
    of power-up capsules.
    
    Metallic orbs will fly in from the right, stop somewhere, and shoot
    short blue lasers while spinning.  The lasers will be all over the
    place so you need to dodge.  They spin once and then fly away
    quickly, either to the left or right.  One orb will try to fly
    at your current position so dodge.
    
    While the orbs are shooting some small TIE-fighter like ships
    fly near the top and bottom of the screen.  Destroy the red ships
    for power up capsules.
    
    You'll approach the entrance of a space installation and 4
    mini-Bacterion Core ships fly from the left and then
    line up vertically on the right.  They will fire orange lasers.
    You can destroy them by attacking their cores.  If you destroy 
    a core ship, another core ship will fly from the left and replace
    the one you just destroyed.  Once you reach the entrance into the
    space installation, they core ships will seal up their cores
    (you cannot damage them anymore), and they will fly to the left.
    
    While you are dealing with these ships, enemy fighters
    will appear at the top and bottom of the screens and try to ram
    into you.  They will chase you, so you have to move around.
    
    When you enter the installation, 6 more sets of these small round 
    enemies travel in wave-like fashion to the left: two at the top,
    two in the middle, and two in the rear. Each set criss-crosses each 
    other multiple times to give the illusion of making rings.  Shoot 
    them or dodge them.  Destroying one set completely will allow
    you to grab a power-up capsule.
    
    This enemy attack is followed by three metallic orbs flying in from
    the right, stopping, spinning and shooting short blue lasers all
    over the stage before flying away.  Two orbs will try to fly right 
    at your current position so dodge.
    
    You have entered the installation.  There is a ceiling and floor.
    The path narrows and the turrets line the ceiling and floor in
    this corrider. Destroy them.  At the end of the corrider, two 
    fighter domes sit on opposite sides of your path behind a ledge.
    These fighter domes are supported by 3 turrets each.  The fighter 
    domes will launch fighters that will enter the corridor in pairs
    to block your way.
    
    If you have Type 3 multiples, you can widen the multiples, so they
    go through the wall and can attack the domes and turrets before 
    you exit the corridor.
    
    As you fly out of the corridor, fly up to another narrow path guarded 
    by turrets and 2 fighter domes.  One fighter dome is on the ceiling,
    and one fighter dome is on the floor.  The fighter domes will launch 
    fighters that will fly to the left and block your way.  You can 
    fire at these domes with an unpowered Vic Viper.
    
    If you don't have any multiples by now, the remainder of the stage
    is very tough.
    
    Right after this path you will enter a large chamber filled with 
    green ooze.  Shoot at the ooze to make them disappear.  This ooze
    is like the cell walls from Stage 4, except they don't come back 
    on their own.
    
    You want to clear as much as the ooze as possible, because there are
    generators in the ceiling that drop more ooze into the chamber.  
    Remember your hitbox!  The ooze's lighter green fringe/haze is harmless, 
    but the bright green part is not.  By destroying the ooze into smaller
    and smaller parts, you increase your survival chances.
    
    The wall on the floor will begin to move to the right.  On the ceiling,
    you'll see one ooze generator, followed by a fighter dome and two
    turrets, and another ooze generator.  You cannot destroy the ooze 
    generators.  If you fire constantly at the ooze generator near its 
    opening, it will eventually stop dumping ooze for a second.  This is 
    when you should fly through.
    
    Destroy the fighter dome quick while clearing the ooze.  Attack
    the second ooze generator to make it stop dumping ooze for a moment.
    Pass under this.
    
    Now, immediately look for that moving wall on the floor.  It should be
    coming back towards the left.  Fly over it and attack another turret
    and ooze generator.  When there is an opening, fly down into the narrow
    path near the floor before that moving wall comes back to the right.
    
    You want to get into the path before the wall comes back to the right,
    because it will shove any ooze on the floor partially into the path.
    
    In this path, you'll see a small wall moving to the right and two ooze
    generators on the ceiling.  As soon as the wall moves to the right, the
    ooze that has accumulated above you will pour into your way.  Destroy
    the ooze quickly.  If you have no multiples, you'll have to shoot
    the ooze as best you can and wait for a gap in the ooze flow to pass
    through.
    
    Fly over the moving wall and then down into the next tunnel.  Move right
    to avoid any ooze being pushed into the tunnel.  Some ooze will pour
    down from the right, but you'll have just enough time to destroy most
    of them as they fall down the ledge.  Fly up in the tunnel, over a wall
    and fly back down in the tunnel.
    
    You'll see another short wall that will move to the left and an ooze 
    generators on the ceiling.  There is a small trench in the ceiling
    of the tunnel.  Fly and stay in the trench until the wall passes, and
    then fly down and shoot the ooze that is pouring in from the ceiling.
    There is a lot of ooze here, but most of it will settle on the floor 
    leaving some room for you to fly through and up.  The small wall will
    eventually come back to the right.
    
    You will see two wall sections blocking your right.  The top wall
    will move to the right (this is wall N in the diagram below). 
    
    Starting and ending position:
    
    |   |                        |   |
    | N |-----------O------------| P |
    |   |     V                  |   |
    |___|          ___           |___|
    |   |  X X X  |   |  Y Y Y   |   |
    | M |  X X X  | B |  Y Y Y   | F |
    |   |__X_X_X__|   |__Y_Y_Y___|   |
    
    
    Top walls moving towards center:
    
          |   |           |   |
          | N |-->--O--<--| P |
          |   |     V     |   |
     ___  |___|    ___    |___|   ___
    |   |  X X X  |   |  Y Y Y   |   |
    | M |  X X X  | B |  Y Y Y   | F |
    |   |__X_X_X__|   |__Y_Y_Y___|   |
    
    B = non-moving wall
    F = non-moving wall
    M = non-moving wall
    N = moving wall to the right, designated by -->-
        N will eventually realign with M, either on its own or when you
        destroy the knob
    O = knob
    P = moving wall to the left, designated by -<--
        P will eventually realign with F, either on its own or when you
        destroy the knob
    X = ooze all over the floor
    Y = ooze all over the floor
    
    Once you get an opening, clear out as much ooze (X) on the floor as possible,
    so you can advance to the clear area (V) above the next wall (B).  You are 
    trying to race ahead of the top wall (N).  You'll see another stationary 
    wall (B) on the floor, and another top moving wall moving to the left (P).
    The two moving walls are coming towards the center where there is a knob (O).
    Do not collide with the knob.
    
    If there is still room, fly out of knob area and destroy the ooze in the next
    floor (Y) and let the walls converge on each other.
    
    -----------------
    Alternatively, you can destroy the knob.  Destroying the knob will stop the 
    two walls from moving closer.  The walls will move away again. 
    
    If you cannot destroy the knob, you'll have to wait for the walls to move 
    away from each other, and there is a good chance the stage will 
    scroll off by then, making you crash into a wall. 
    
    If you do destroy the knob, you will have to clear the ooze (Y) in the next
    floor section and race ahead of the other top wall (P) before it closes up
    the path with the next wall on the floor (F).
    
    Damned if you destroy the knob, damned if you don't destroy the knob.
    -------------------
    
    After you clear that nasty section, there will be an ooze generator and
    some turrets in the ceiling.  A wall is on the floor. Fly past the ooze 
    generator, and the background will tilt clockwise to the right to create a 
    vertical stage for about 1 second (see diagram).
    
    Horizontal:
    
    __________________________     ___________
       X                      |   |        Y
                              |   |
              ___             |___|
             |   |
             |   |
    _________|   |_____________________________
    
    X = ooze generator
    Y = ooze generator
    
    Vertical (Clockwise):
    
    |                  |
    |                 X| 
    |                  |
    |                  |
    ________           |
            |          |
    ________|          |
    |                  |
    |                  |
    |                  |
    |                  |
    |                  |
    |                  |
    |         __________
    |        |
    |        |__________
    |                  |
    |                  |
    |                 Y|
    |                  |
    |                  |
    
    X = ooze generator
    Y = ooze generator
    
    Vertical (Counterclockwise):
    
    |                  |
    |Y                 | 
    |                  |
    |                  |
    ________           |
            |          |
    ________|          |
    |                  |
    |                  |
    |                  |
    |                  |
    |                  |
    |                  |
    |         __________
    |        |
    |        |__________
    |                  |
    |                  |
    |X                 |
    |                  |
    |                  |
    
    X = ooze generator
    Y = ooze generator
    
    The wall on the floor becomes a ledge.  This will cause the ooze that
    built up on the left side in the horizontal orientation to pour off the 
    ledge in the vertical orientation.
    
    Fly underneath the left ledge for safety and continue to destroy the ooze.
    
    The stage will tilt counterclockwise until the stage is in a vertical 
    orientation once again for a second.  This will cause the ooze that
    built up on the floor on the right side in the horizontal orientation 
    to pour down the now WALL in the vertical orientation.
    
    Use the left ledge for cover and continue to destroy the ooze.
    
    You'll travel through two more sets of clockwise and counterclockwise
    tilts, so speed ups here are good for quickly moving around.
    
    Eventually, the tilting stops, and the stage is horizontal again.
    
    Two walls will block your way.  The bottom wall will move to the left.
    On the opposite side of the top wall are a few turrets and a fighter
    dome.  Destroy the fighter dome.
    
    By now, ooze will be flowing from the left side of the screen from the
    ooze generator in the ceiling.  The floor wall will be moving back to 
    the right, pushing the ooze to the right.  Destroy as much of it as 
    you can.  
    
    The path will narrow and turrets lace the ceiling and floor.  There is
    a fighter dome deep in a floor trench.  You can't hit it without
    multiples or missiles.  Destroy everything in the path to secure an
    opening and get to the right side, so you can go up and around the
    bend to the next large chamber, but watch out for the fighter dome 
    in the ceiling as you pass.
    
    A fighter dome on the far left wall will launch fighter that will make 
    a circle in the large chamber.  Destroy or avoid the enemies and make 
    your way to the upper right path.
    
    The path will continue towards the upper right.  Fighter domes will be on the
    right wall.  Turrets will be on the ceiling.  Ooze generators will be tucked
    away in the ceiling on the left.  The ooze generators will dump ooze onto the 
    ledge above you.  If you have Type 1, Type 3, and Type 4 multiples, you can
    get the multiples to shoot into the ooze above you.  If you do not do this,
    the ooze will eventually overflow the ledge and fall into your path.
    
    Once you get to the top of the path, the stage will tilt clockwise.  This will
    cause the ooze that built up the top ledge to pour down the middle.  You can
    hide out temporarily on the left side and clear more ooze before heading 
    through the opening at the bottom.  You want to wait until you can see the 
    space past the opening at the bottom.  You'll want to race through that 
    opening and then get to the sides, because more ooze will continue to rain 
    down from above.
    
    Once you make it through the opening, you'll be in a very large open area.  
    More ooze rains from above. Dodge or shoot them.
    
    When you reach the bottom, the stage moves LEFT.  Wait a minute, 
    you're still facing RIGHT!  Why can't the Vic Viper turn around?
    
    Enemies will appear from the left.
    
    If you don't have Type 2 multiples or rear-firing weapons, you'll have to 
    dodge the enemies until they get to the right side of you where you can hit 
    them.
    
    Three fighters will fly to the right in a small wave near the top of 
    the stage. Three fighters will fly to the right in a small wave near the 
    bottom of the stage.
    
    In the middle, the small round enemies from earlier in the stage will travel 
    in wave-like fashion to the right at the middle of the stage.  They criss-cross 
    each other multiple times to give the illusion of making rings.  Shoot them 
    or dodge them.  These enemies do not give power-up capsules.
    
    A floor and ceiling will come into view.  Turrets are on the ceiling and floor.
    A fighter dome sits on the floor and ceiling near the turrets.  These fighter
    domes will release large fighters that will try fly straight at your current
    location.
    
    Some more small round enemies will travel in wave-like fashion to the left 
    at the middle of the stage.  They criss-cross each other multiple times to 
    give the illusion of making rings.  Shoot them or dodge them.  There are red
    enemies in the bunch.  Shoot those enemies for the power up capsules.
    
    You'll pass through the narrow opening.  A fighter dome rests on the ceiling 
    and floor.
    
    Two mini-Bacterian Core ships fly from the left and stop at the middle 
    divider, fire orange lasers, and then fly to the right, letting you through.
    
    Pass through one of the two openings and enter another large chamber.  Three
    fighter domes supported by turrets line the floor and ceiling.  The fighter 
    domes launch the same aggressive fighters at you.
    
    Another pair of mini-Bacterian Core ships will block your path, but these 
    ships WILL NOT MOVE.  You will see something like this (see diagram below):
    
    _________     _________
             |   |      
             |___|
               O
              XXX
              _O_
             |   |
             |___|
               O		 
              XXX
              _O_
             |   |
    _________|   |_________
    		 
    XXX = Mini-Bacterian Core Ship
    O = Narrow space for Vic Viper's cockpit to fly through
    
    If you cannot destroy the mini-Bacterian Core ships, there is just enough
    room between the ship and the walls to allow the Vic Viper to squeeze through.
    Remember your hit box!  You want to put the black cockpit of the Vic Viper,
    so it goes through that opening.  Forget about the rest of the Vic Viper.
    Concentrate on getting the black cockpit through the narrow space.
    
    More mini-Bacterian Core ships will block your way, and you must do the same
    thing: Destroy them or squeeze through the openings.
    
    After you make it through, red square-shaped enemies materialize from the air
    to try to ram into you.  Every red square-shaped enemy will drop a power up
    capsule, so you are being given a chance to power up as much as possible.
    If one of the enemies drops a Mega Crush capsule, get it and the whole screen
    will be left with power up capsules.
    
    Massive boss rush alert!
    
    The first boss will arrive from the right.  It is an enhanced and large 
    Bacterian Core boss ship.  The main core ship is in the center, but it has two
    large pieces of side armor.  Each side armor has 3 laser guns and the core has 
    2 laser guns. The core is protected by gates on its front and back.
    
    It will aim and fire the six outer lasers at you, shortly followed by the the 
    two inner lasers.
    
    ALL THE LASER CANNONS CAN BE DESTROYED TEMPORARILY.  They will regenerate 
    quickly, but it'll give you a split-second reprieve from enemy fire.
    
    After shooting its lasers several times, the core flip to its backside to fire 
    a wide blue laser beam.  It will try to aim at you before firing, so you need 
    to keep moving.
    
    The gates are not particularly strong, so you can reach the core quicker than
    past bosses.
    
    After you destroy this boss or let this boss leave, some red square-shaped 
    enemies materialize from the air to allow you an opportunity to get power-up
    capsules.
    
    The next boss appears.
    
    You will be trapped in an elongated octagonal rollcage along with a metal ball
    with a core.  The core has gates protecting on two sides.
    
    The cage will rotate in different directions to cause the ball to roll around 
    inside.  Standard physics rule applies, so dodge accordingly while trying to
    attack the core.  As the ball rolls on the elongated sides of the cage, it 
    will drop turrets on those sides.  Up to 6 turrets can sit on each 
    elongated side.  The turrets will fire diamond-shaped bullets at you.  
    As you destroy the turrets, the ball will replace them if it rolls onto 
    the elongated sides.
    
    It will alternate between bouncing off the cage walls and rolling along the
    cage wall in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion until you destroy the 
    core or the boss leaves.
    
    After you destroy this boss or let this boss leave, some red square-shaped 
    enemies materialize from the air to allow you an opportunity to get power-up
    capsules.
    
    The next boss appears.
    
    This is a boss with three cores and two very large horizontal wings.
    Two cores face the front.  One core is in the rear.  All are protected by
    tiny gates, much smaller than previous core bosses.  The rear core also has
    gates protecting its rear.
    
    The two wings will shoot blue laser barriers that will try to confine you 
    in a fixed area in front of the boss.  You can get outside the lasers 
    before they fire, but you won't be able to attack the cores without 
    Type 3 multiples.  None of the other multiple formations cover enough 
    vertical distance to reach the cores.
    
    The boss will fire two thin blue lasers that will richocet off the outer
    laser barriers.  They criss-cross in unison.  Watch the pattern and find 
    a safe spot between the thin lasers.
    
    After this, it will close up its wings and fire a barrage of small blue lasers
    at you.  Then, it will spin on its axis and fly to the left side.
    
    It will now attack from behind.  It will shoot diamond shaped bullets.
    It will also shoot two orange lasers horizontally from its wings. 
    
    After this, it will close its wings and fly back to the right side of the 
    screen.  It will fire a larger barrage of small blue lasers at you in
    machine-gun rapidity.
    
    Then, it will reopen its wings.  It will fire its small blue lasers in
    machine-gun rapidity and fire two orange lasers horizontally.
    
    It will try to fire 4 orange tracking lasers at you, before spinning to its
    backside to attack.  While you will see this attack coming, it'll be hard to
    determine where the lasers will travel.
    
    It will repeat the attack patterns until you destroy the boss or it leaves.
    
    After you destroy this boss or let this boss leave, some red square-shaped 
    enemies materialize from the air to allow you an opportunity to get power-up
    capsules.
    
    The final boss appears into the right side of the screen.
    
    This is a ring satellite.  There are 4 gaps in the outer ring.
    There are five cores [Correction by Akira] inside that rotate clockwise 
    or counterclockwise at certain points in the boss's attack patterns.  
    You are supposed to fire into the gaps to hit the cores or for the 
    truly ambitious, fly through the gap and get inside the ring and 
    attack the cores.  You can follow the cores around the ring.  Just 
    don't touch the ring or the center. 
    
    The boss will first fire missiles that will orbit around the boss.  When 
    an orange circle starts to close in on a missile, it explode and release 
    several diamond shaped bullets.  Another missile will have an magenta 
    propulsion exhaust. It will simply explode, but it is still dangerous to you.
    The missiles will rotate at various orbits around the boss.  The orbit is
    larger than you can see on the screen, you must be on guard for missiles
    that come from the top and bottom of the screen.  It is not a good idea
    to be at the top and bottom of the screen. To make matters worse, you 
    cannot destroy these missiles.
    
    The boss will slowly drift to the left while all the missiles are flying 
    around. When it gets to the left side of the screen, you'll see green 
    energy forming. It will now fire short green lasers as it is spinning.  
    It'll shoot them in sets of six short lasers, but they get more frequent, 
    so you'll have to dodge in between the gaps.
    
    After that attack, it will drift to the right again and repeat its missile
    attack.  When it gets to the right side of the screen, you'll see orange
    energy forming. After this it will shoot small diamond-shaped bullets.
    These bullets will fan out as the boss rotates, so the gaps are smaller
    to maneuver through.  The cores will spin faster during this attack.
    
    Destroy this boss or let it leave, and the stage ends.
    
    
    [14_stg6_vh]
    Very Hard Mode by Jason (kendarin_bloodtear@yahoo.com)
    
    The medium-sized orbs that come by and fire many radial lasers does so almost 
    as fiercely as the tentacle miniboss in Stage 2. There are more of them.
    
    The mini-Bacterian Core ships fire in a pattern now; it's as if the lasers 
    they fire would be one continuous stream with no way to get through them, 
    except they skip every fourth laser.
    
    The generators of the green ooze generate much more of it and they do 
    not stop as often. It has a rhythm; about every 15 spheres of it that it 
    generates, it skips one.  Usually players who play on very hard mode 
    have unlocked Weapon Edit by now; this is a good thing. A combination of 
    the Spacing Multiples, Ripple Laser, and Spread Bomb can clear out the 
    green ooze *incredibly* quickly. It almost makes the part of the level 
    as easy as easier settings.
    
    After the level rotates so that your ship is flying down, not only do you 
    have to worry about large amounts of falling green ooze, but two to six 
    of the medium-sized orbs come by and fire lasers as you're traversing 
    this. They leave quicker than they did earlier in the stage.
    
    The Option Thief likes to come out during the part where the stage 
    scrolls backwards a bit more than usual, if you happen to be holding
    4 multiples.  It seems that the Option Thief takes less time to appear
    if you are holding 4 multiples.
    
    The pinball-ish miniboss sets down more turrets than usual; they can 
    cover the entire bracket, slopes and all. They all fire just as much as 
    they have earlier in the game; this is where I currently spend most 
    of my lives. I have not gotten further than this yet.
    
    
    [15_stg7]
    Stage 7
    10 sections!
    
    
    [15_stg7_ve]
    Very Easy Mode
    
    You will want to activate some speed-ups, because the stage moves fast 
    and forces you to move through confined areas. Because the stage 
    moves fast in some parts, you should probably not stay too far to
    the left of the screen.  If you die, your multiples may scroll off
    before your ship can collect them again.
    
    -----------------
    
    To start, you will be attacked by 4 sets of 8 small round enemies to 
    get yourself powered up.  The first set starts at the top, followed 
    by the next set at the bottom, followed by another set at the top, 
    and the last set at the bottom.
    
    Then, you will fight three sets of 5 H-shaped enemy fighters (2 
    fighters in the front row and three in the back row).  One set 
    covers the top third of the screen, one set covers the middle 
    third of the screen, and the last set covers the bottom third 
    of the screen.  Some fighters are red, so shoot those for power 
    up capsules.
    
    Right after this wave of fighters fly by you or are destroyed,
    a large number of square-shaped enemies materialize on the screen.
    Most of them materialize at your location, so you need to move
    around to avoid being destroyed by a collision.  There are plenty
    of red enemies here to let you get powered up.
    
    Occasionally, one of these red square-shaped enemies will drop
    a mega crush capsule.  Grab it to wipe the rest of them off the
    screen.  If you destroy the first wave of these square-shaped 
    enemies fast enough or using a mega crush, a second wave of 
    these enemies will materialize in a circular formation that 
    will spiral outward.  You may not be able to destroy them all,
    so you'll have to fly in the gaps of the enemies while they
    spiral outward.
    
    After this, you'll fight another three sets of 5 H-shaped enemy fighters
    (2 fighters in the front row and three  in the back row).  One set covers
    the top third of the screen, one set covers the middle third of the 
    screen, and the last set covers the bottom third of the screen.  Some 
    fighters are red, so shoot those for power up capsules.
    
    Before these fighters even get halfway across the screen, you will be 
    assaulted by Bacterian Core boss ships.  They will fly in from the right
    while spinning.  They will stop spinning for a moment to get into position,
    and then fire four short blue lasers like they normally do.  After this, 
    they will spin again as they fly off to the left. These ships enter 
    from the top third, middle third, and bottom third of the screen, so you 
    really don't have many safe spots.  They also fly really fast, so it's 
    unlikely  you'll be able to destroy many of them.  Be prepared to dodge 
    them instead.
    
    After these Bacterian Core boss ships are done, you will see small H-shaped 
    enemy fighters flying in very long lines from the right side of the screen.
    Some will fire diamond-shaped bullets at you, so be on the lookout for 
    enemy fire as you might be distracted by the sheer number of enemy fighters on
    the screen.  The line formations of the enemy fighters create artificial 
    paths. If you have multiples, you can destroy more fighters to create more
    room to maneuver.  Spacing multiples and ripple laser will help you wipe
    out all the fighters.
    
    Eventually, you leave space and enter a space installation. 
    
    As you enter, two red ships speedily fly in parallel from the right side of 
    the screen.  When they reach the left side of the screen, they turn around 
    and the fly in wave-like formation shooting orange lasers at you.  Then, two 
    more of the same fighters, but blue, will appear and follow the same attack
    pattern.  After this, four of the same fighters, two blue and two red, will
    appear and follow the same attack pattern.
    
    You will now see your path obstructed by little diamond-shaped blocks 
    (reminiscent of earlier Gradius games). There are three paths, and all of 
    them are blocked. You'll need to clear a path here just like Stage 4's cell 
    walls.  The blocks, however, do not regenerate.  As you past them, you'll 
    see gun turrets on various surfaces shooting diamond-shaped bullets at you.
    
    The next section is a series of branching tunnel paths.  Each tunnel can
    have gun turrets, diamond-shaped blocks you must destroy, and gates that
    open and close in a timed pattern.  You must pass the gates when they are
    opened.  Unfortunately, the stage scrolls fast at this point, so you need
    to move swiftly and decisively.  Having speed ups will increase your chances
    of making it throught the gates.  As you progress deeper, there will be 
    more gates in the paths.  I have no tips to offer except to memorize 
    the paths and practice!  This section of the branching paths is the only
    section where you are given much more vertical height than the screen
    normally allows, which means you can ascend or descend the paths quite
    a bit before the stage sends you completely horizontal again.
    
    Eventually, you will reach a large tunnel with two sets of 3 gates.  Each 
    set opens and closes its gates sequentially, so you have to time the pattern.
    
    After you leave that, you will encounter several columns of platforms.
    Each column moves all up or all down like an elevator.  Each platform has 
    gun turrets shooting at you.  You have to make your way between platforms 
    and not get scrolled off the screen either at the top or bottom.  There are
    at least six elevator columns.  The stage moves too fast, so I lost count.
    
                                   
        A                          D
    ---------                  ---------
                 B  
             ---------    C              etc.
        A             ---------    D
    ---------                  ---------
                 B
             ---------    C
                      ---------
    
    A = moves up
    B = moves down
    C = moves up
    D = moves down
    etc.
    
    After this, the stage speeds up and takes a sharp 45-degree drop 
    to the lower right.  Spider-like turrets line this path.  At the bottom, 
    more turrets and another set of gates obstruct you.   Time the gates 
    and pass through.  Then, the path takes a sharp 45-degree climb to 
    the upper right. There are several gates here.  Time them all and pass
    through them.  The tunnel will then taper off horizontally again.
    
    Once you clear the tunnel and back into a large chamber, 10 red ships
    fly from the right in the shadows.  They start in single file and 
    then split into two sets of five in a Y-like formation.  When they
    get to the left side of the screen, they turn around, emerge from
    the shadows and fly to the right in a wave-like fashion while
    shooting orange lasers.  Each one destroyed gives you a power up
    capsule or mega crush capsule.  This is your last opportunity to power
    up before the first boss of this stage.  10 power up capsules = two multiples
    
    The first boss will fly from the left in the shadows.  This is a modified
    Bacterian Core boss ship.  It has five cores 4 cores are in a 2 by 2 square.
    The fifth core is behind them.  The ship will begin to move up and down.
    
    The first attack is to fire long blue lasers at the ceiling and floor
    at various angles.  The blue lasers will richocet off the walls.  Dodge
    them while attacking the cores.
    
    After a few laser volleys, it will fire two orange lasers that will
    constrict you in a small horizontal path, much like the Stage 1 boss.
    Now you are forced to move in sync with the boss's vertical movements
    while dodging the richoceting blue lasers.  The orange containment lasers
    don't last very long, fortunately.
    
    Then, it will drop napalm bombs on the floor and ceiling to reduce your
    available space while firing the blue lasers.
    
    After that, it will repeat the orange containment laser and blue
    richoceting lasers two more times.
    
    Then, it drops napalm bombs on the floor and ceiling to reduce your
    available space. 
    
    At this point, you will enter a narrower tunnel that goes up and down
    alternately.  The boss will now fire a barrage of diamond-shaped bullets
    at you.  This is very tricky to maneuver through.
    
    After this barrage, it will drop more napalm bombs on the ceiling and floor.
    Since the path is narrower and zig-zags, you have even less space to move
    around.
    
    After this, the boss will leave unless you destroy it beforehand.
    
    The stage will widen again and slow down.  You will now be attacked by
    squadrons of slow-moving fighters moving in wave-like formations.
    They fire short orange lasers at you.  Destroy the red ones for power-up
    capsules.
    
    Past this wave of fighters, you will find more enemy fighters.  These
    fighters are the type that come out of fighter domes (guess what that 
    means).  These enemy fighters fly in a straight line from the right until
    they reach the left side of the screen and then they turn around and fly
    to the left in a straight line.  You'll reach an area with a 
    ceiling and floor section again.
    
    A walking cannon walks on the ceiling and floor and more fighters will
    come out of the fighter domes if you don't destroy them.  At this point,
    blue square-shaped enemies materialize from thin air and try to collide
    into you.
    
    The path narrows a bit and widens again, and the next wave of blue 
    square-shaped enemies materialize from thin air and try to collide
    into you.
    
    Through out the next area, you will see gun turrets, walking cannons,
    fighter domes, and fighters in the area.  The difficulty is that the
    blue-shaped enemies materialize very often, so it is difficult to dodge
    them.  Expect this section to get really crowded from all directions.
    
    The path then narrows towards the top, where there are ten turrets
    lined up blocking your narrow path.  Shoot them all quickly and go
    through.  More fighter domes and turrets await you on the other side.
    Take them out.  Watch out for walking cannons from behind.
    
    Move your ship down as the path narrows towards the bottom. Turrets
    line the ceiling and floor of the narrow path, so wipe them out.
    
    There are 3 fighter domes in the ceiling, but they are in very narrow
    vertical columns.  You can move inside a column to try to take them
    out, but the stage will scroll you off if you do not hurry.  If you
    have directional or spacing options, let them attack the domes.  If
    you do nothing with them, they will drop fighters down to attack you.
    
       -----------
      | F | F | F |
      |   |   |   |
      |   |   |   |
      |   |   |   |
      |   |   |   |
      |   |   |   |
    --             --
            V
    -----------------
    
    F = Fighter dome
    V = Vic Viper flying through
    
    
    The next section is a pain.
    
    You now have floors and ceilings that will rise from the floor or descend
    from the ceiling.  They will stop and remain locked in place, except for
    one piece.  Fortunately, you will see the floor or ceiling shake and 
    emit smoke to warn you of impending movement.
    
    The first floor piece rises from the floor until it is halfway up.
    The second floor descends from the ceiling until it is a quarter of the
    way down.
    The third floor section rises from the floor until it is two-thirds
    of the way up.
    The fourth floor section descends from the ceiling until it is two-thirds
    of the way down.
    The fifth pieces rises up from the floor until it is FLUSH with the rest 
    of the floor.  That is about a third of the way up.  Do not hang around
    all the way at the bottom.
    
    The next section will look like this:
    
    -----------------------
    |                     |
    |      --------       |
    |     |  T  T  |      |
     -----          ------
    
              V
    
     -----          ------
    |     |  T  T  |      |
    |      --------       |
    |                     |
    -----------------------
    
    
    V = Vic Viper
    T = Red gun turret
    
    Imeediately destroy the red gun turrets and head into the middle of the screen
    where the trenches in the floor and ceiling are.  Both the floor and ceiling
    will come together, but if you are in the middle of the screen, then you will 
    be in the space created by the trenches.  Wait until the sections split apart
    again before continuing.
    
    Note: You can hang to the left and let the walls close first and reopen.
    
    You'll see some more fighter domes in the ceilings and floors.  To the right,
    you'll see the two sections of the floor and ceiling closing in front of you.  
    You must fly through before they close all the way, because the first section
    will not reopen!
    
    Then, you'll have to choose between two symmetrical paths.  They both snake and
    join in the center, but both have turrets, and walking cannons sneak up from 
    behind.  The center path is riddled with turrets.
    
    Clear that section, and you'll see two fighter domes, one on the floor and
    one on the ceiling.  To the right are four cylinders that move to the right
    when you shoot them.  Try to move two of them with you to the right.
    
    You'll see some more gun turrets and walking cannons will continue
    to appear from the rear to harass you.  The next section is nothing but turrets.
    
    You will then see a flame tower in front of you.  The flamethrower base on 
    the floor cannot be destroyed, so you will shoot a cylinder along until it 
    blocks the flame.  Do not overshoot.  After you block one flame, shoot the 
    other cylinders to the right.  The next flamethrower base is on the ceiling.  
    Shoot the other cylinder to block that flame tower.
    
    Once you clear that, some blue square-shaped enemies will materialize from thin
    air to attack you.  The path will narrow towards the center and go downward.
    Move through that to be greeted by more turrets.
    
    The walls in front of you will separate.  You will see read spider-like cannons
    on the wall. Shoot them and collect power up capsules.  Then, fly up over the 
    wall and attack more of these cannons on your flight down to the bottom and 
    under the next wall.  Then, you'll fly upwards over the next wall while taking 
    out more cannons.  Finally, you'll go down and under a wall and finally return 
    to center.
    
    The center path has these floating satellites (mines).  If you or your 
    multiples come near them, they will slowly drift towards.  If you or your 
    multiple move away from them, they will slowly drift away back to their 
    original positions. Try to move around so they don't bunch up.
    
    Some more walking cannons will move on the floors and ceilings.  Stay alive
    and eventually all enemies and objects will be destroyed to make way for 
    the boss.
    
    The boss takes up the whole right side of the screen and sits there.
    There are three cores.  Each core is protected by gates and a cap.
    
    In the first attack, it will shoot blue energy spheres in a spreading pattern
    while firing diamond-shaped bullets at you from its cannons.  You can't
    destroy the cannons.
    
    Once you blow up the caps, the boss will slide to the left and then slide
    to the right.  The stage will speed up as if you are in pursuit of the boss.
    
    When the computer tells you to destroy the core, immediately concentrate on 
    destroying the cap and gates to one of the cores.  You need the space 
    created by it to avoid one of the boss's attacks.
    
    While you are pursuing the boss, cylinders will bounce from the left side
    of the screen.  They will either bounce on the ceiling or the floor making
    a U-shaped trajectory. Bouncing cylinders will never cross to the 
    opposite surface, i.e. a bouncing cylinder on the floor will not bounce to 
    the ceiling and vice versa.  However, some cylinders will bounce a lot more
    than others.
    
    While this is happening, the boss will fire diamond shaped bullets at you.
    When a cylinder hits the boss, it will temporarily destroy the cannons it
    hits.  In addition, cylinders will block the boss bullets.
    
    After a short while, it will slide quickly to the left side to ram you.  
    You have NO space to dodge this attack unless you created a space inside 
    one of the core chambers.  After the ramming attempt, it will slide back
    to the right.
    
    The attack pattern will repeat from the beginning until you destroy the boss
    or it leaves.
    
    After destroying the boss, the stage slows down.  Some walking cannons try
    to harass you from the ceiling and floor.  This is followed by two bouncing
    enemy pods from stage 2 that release diamond-shaped bullets in six
    directions.  After this, square-shaped enemies appear.  Some of these 
    enemies are red to give you more power-up opportunities.
    
    Now the spider mech boss appears.  Watch the way the tri-legs work.  The boss
    will walk all the way to the left, so you have to walk in between the legs.
    The boss's body is in the background, so you can travel vertically to avoid
    the legs.
    
    When the computer says to attack the core, you have to destroy all the cores
    located on the joints of the tri-legs.
    
    Occasionally, the stage will scroll to where there are gun turrets or
    bouncing enemy pods, so do your best to destroy them or avoid their 
    bullets while trying not to get stepped on by the boss.
    
    The boss will continue to walk left and right until you destroy the boss,
    or it leaves.
    
    After this, some walking cannons and flying enemy ships appear from the rear.
    Then, in the front, you will hear the fighters being launched from fighter 
    domes.  These fighters will fly through the center path blocking your way.
    Destroy them to clear a path.  If you cannot destroy them, notice that there
    is a space between the two lines of fighters.  Use that for safety.
    
    The door in the path will begin to close. Quickly get past the door.  
    
    You have reached the master core of the installation.  But you cannot 
    damage it!  The Vic Viper computer states that the core is impervious 
    to your weapons.  The pilot tells the computer to scan for weaknesses.
    The computer finds that there are two hatches at the rear of the ship
    the lead to the inside of the hull protecting the core.  Two ships must
    simultaneously enter the hatches and reach the core area where both weak
    spots must be destroyed simultaneously.
    
    First, you, the player, now realize you've been flying inside a ship 
    of immense proportions the whole time.  
    
    Second, the pilot (and you) realizes that this ship is the same ship he
    flew inside in stage 2!  Now, the pilot (and you) know who that
    double Vic Viper in stage 2 was.  It was you!
    
    The only way to destroy this boss is to use your spatial-temporal drive
    in the Vic Viper to create a time warp back into the past to meet up
    with your past self to destroy this boss.  Since you already destroyed
    the boss in the past, you know you and your past self are able to do this.
    
    Thus, the Vic Viper generates a tremendous space-time distortion and
    warps itself and the boss back to the time period of "stage 2."
    
    
    [15_stg7_vh]
    Very Hard Mode by Jason (kendarin_bloodtear@yahoo.com)
    
    Nothing yet...
    
    
    [16_stg8]
    Stage 8
    2 sections
    
    The Vic Viper appears with the boss ship in the past.  The pilot meets 
    up with his past self, explains the situation, and both Vic Vipers
    fly attack their respective hatches.
    
    This stage's path is a mirror of the early sections of Stage 2.
    
    You start approaching the rear of your entry point of the Bacterian capital 
    ship.  Square-shaped enemies will materialize on the screen and try to home in 
    on you.  Eventually, you reach the hatch of the ship. It doesn't take many
    hits to destroy it.
    
    You enter the hatch.  There is now floor and a ceiling.  Turrets are located
    on the floor and ceiling.  They fire small diamond-shaped shots that you 
    cannot destroy, so you have to be careful.  After some turrets, you will see 
    large fighter domes that launch a small line of fighters at you.  You should 
    try to destroy them.  Some domes will flushed against walls, so you can't 
    destroy them without missiles, rear shots, or multiples.  Continue to destroy
    turrets and domes and you will go up a 45-degree downward tunnel to the right.
    Both the left and right sides of the tunnel have fighter domes that launch 
    lines of fighters horizontally and then drop down at you.  Take out the 
    fighters.  The fighter domes placed on the left wall cannot be hit without 
    multiples, rear shots, or multiples.
    
    When you reach the bottom, the tunnel will go right again, and you will also
    see your mirror fighting in his section of the tunnel.  The next section
    of the path travels horizontally and is very narrow, so you have little 
    room to maneuver.  Enemy turrets and fighter domes line the narrow path, 
    making your life difficult.  Remember that you have a small hit box, 
    and use this to your advantage to avoid enemy fire!  Forward-firing 
    missiles help to take out the turrets, and multiples take out the fighters
    coming of the fighter domes.  The tunnel is divided in half.  You'll see
    your mirror take out enemies in his own path while you attack enemies on
    your path.  Note that your past self is flying and fighting the same
    exact way you did in Stage 2.
    
    If you took the opportunity in stage 2 to attack the upper path with
    your multiples, your past self will help clear some of your path for
    you.
    
    The horizontal tunnel will then change to a 45-degree upward tunnel 
    to the right.
    
    Small enemy pods will hop along the side walls in this tunnel, both above 
    and below you.  Some will fire at you.  If you leave them alone long 
    enough, they will stop momentarily to fire shots in 6 directions 
    around itself.  At the bottom of the tunnel, the path becomes horizontal
    again.  Turrets and fighter domes line the floor and ceiling at the beginning
    of the horizontal path, so destroy them quickly or rush through.
    
    You'll fight more turrets on the floor and ceiling until a big round organic
    cyclops monster obstructs your right side.  It swings forward to you
    from the ceiling with its two legs, while it shoots electrical spheres from
    its eye in a spreading pattern.  Attack the eye to destroy it.
    
    After this, there are more turrets on the floor and ceiling, but another
    big round organic cyclops monster appears from the left.  Note that some
    parts of the floor are lower than others.  You need to fly your ship 
    underneath the cyclops monster as it swings over to the right, so you
    can hit its eye.  Destroy it fast. 
    
    Right after you destroy it, more enemy hopping pods come from the left.
    At the end of the this path is another cyclops monster blocking your way
    and more turrets on the floor and ceiling.  Destroy the monster to gain
    access to a tunnel going at a 45-degree angle downward to the right.
    
    On your descent, more enemy hopping pods from above and below will pester you.
    At the bottom of the tunnel is another cyclops monster, but its eye is at its 
    bottom.  On the other hand, it does not move.  It fires electrical spheres
    from it stationary position.  If you have multiples, position them at the eye 
    level. Otherwise, you need to move your ship up to the left so you can hit it.
    To the right of the monster is a gate that will begin to close.  If it closes
    before you get through, you will die because you will have no way out.  
    If you cannot destroy the monster, fly to the right and get through the gate.
    
    Once you get through the gate, keep to the left until the screen stops
    scrolling.  The computer will tell your past self to destroy the eye in 
    front of you.  After the eye is destroyed, you will say goodbye to your
    past self while you hold your position.  After your past self leaves, the
    computer will instruct you to attack the remaining eye.
    
    After the second eye is destroyed, the brain talks to you angrily and vows
    to terrorize the Gradius army as long as any part of itself still lives 
    in the universe.  It then implodes.
    
    Fly into the tunnel opening on the right and escape.  Don't crash into
    the ceiling or floor!
    
    You'll fly out of the large enemy ship while it explodes into oblivion.
    You win!  The Vic Viper will warp back to its own time.
    
    Once the credits are over, you will start the game over at stage 1, but
    on the next loop.  A loop is when you complete a game once.  The game 
    gets harder after each loop you successfully finish.
    
    
    [16_stg8_vh]
    Very Hard Mode by Jason (kendarin_bloodtear@yahoo.com)
    
    Nothing yet....
    
    
    [17_loop_diff]
    Additional Loops / Higher Difficulties
    
    Additional Loops
    ----------------
    
    After you beat the game for the first time and watch the credits, you
    will start over on Stage 1, but at a higher difficulty level.
    
    Each time you complete the game, you start a new loop, which is more
    difficult than the last. 
    
    I'm not sure how many loops there are.
    
    
    Higher Difficulties
    -------------------
    
    While enemy appearance patterns are mostly the same, some
    new things happen at higher difficulties or loops:
    
    1) Some enemies are a little faster or more aggressive.
    
    2) Enemies shoot more bullets.  At higher difficulties and loops,
    the bullets are all over the place.
    
    3) Enemies have new attack and movement patterns, some of which you've 
    never seen before in the first loop or lower difficulties.
    
    4) Additional enemies or obstacles appear, especially in places where
    there were no enemies at lower difficulty levels.
    
    5) Every enemy that is destroyed releases "suicide bullets" 
    (death bullets or parting shots).  You really have to be careful
    as if you're too close to an enemy when you destroy them, you could get 
    hit by their bullets.
    
    6) Boss enemies have new appearances, new attack patterns, and new
    movement patterns.
    
    The following were contributed by Jason (kendarin_bloodtear@yahoo.com):
    
    [Contribution by Jason (kendarin_bloodtear@yahoo.com)]
    7) Gates guarding cores explode in at least four of the diamond-shaped
    bullets; at least one will be in your exact direction.
     
    8) Most large enemies do indeed die in a sunburst of shots; this also 
    (obnoxiously) includes any base for ships to come out. Get used to this;
    it happens with surprising redundancy.
     
    9) The Option Thief comes out much more often, and there's usually more than 
    one of them.  I've only seen it a few times.
    
    10) The Option Thief seems to appear faster if you're holding on to 4 
    multiples.
     
    11) Powerups are few and far in between, in comparison to easier difficulties.
    [/Contribution by Jason (kendarin_bloodtear@yahoo.com)]
    
    
    [18_secrets]
    Secrets
    
    
    Konami Code
    -----------
    
    The Konami code is in this game.  Using it gives you a full set of 
    Type 1 power-ups.  This code only works on normal or lower difficulties.
    It will not work in hard or very hard mode.  It also doesn't work beyond
    loop 1.
    
    You get to use this code once for every stage you pass and you can stock 
    them.  For example, if you past 4 stages, and you didn't use any, you can
    use the code 4 times.
    
    Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, L2, R2
    Gives you Speed Up (1 level), Missile, Double, 4 Options, and Force Field
    
    Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, L1, R1
    Gives you Speed Up (1 level), Missile, Laser, 4 Options, and Force Field
    
    
    One-Credit Commentary
    ---------------------
    
    Depending on how long you last on one credit, the game's announcer will
    say different things.
    
    If you can't even finish a stage on one credit, you get a pretty insulting
    comment, "You need some practice."  As you get better on lasting on one
    credit, the comments will change when you use up your last life on the credit.
    
    Comments made by the announcer, based on which stage you lose your first credit:
    
    (Stage 3, 4, 5, and 7 quotes contributions by Johnny Wallbank)
    (Stage 6 quote by Wesley Simons)
    (One loop quote by Profound Darkness)
    
    Stage 1: "You need some practice."
    Stage 2: "C'mon, we're just getting started."
    Stage 3: "Try again."
    Stage 4: "Brush up on your skills."
    Stage 5: "You're just some more space debris."
    Stage 6: "You lose."
    Stage 7: "What the Hell?"
    
    1 loop, to Stage 2-1 - "You're a living legend!"
    
    
    More credits
    ------------
    
    For every hour you play in Score Attack, Game Start, and Stage Select, you
    get one more credit.  After 17 hours, free play is unlocked.
    
    
    [19_ost]
    Soundtrack
    
    If you're looking for the soundtrack, here is the information for
    the Japanese import album.
    
    Gradius V Soundtracks
    Catalog number: KOLA-81
    
    Gradius - ARCADE SOUNDTRACK
    Catalog number: KMCA-155
    This has music to Gradius I through IV as well as some arranged music.
    
    You can order these CDs at
    www.cdjapan.co.jp
    www.gamemusic.com
    
    
    [20_credits]
    Credits
    
    Gamefaqs.com for hosting FAQs
    
    Gamefaqs Gradius V forums for cool conversations and things I missed after 
    I beat the game using 10 credits, 5 lives per credit, on Very Easy
    heh
    
    Konami for publishing an old-school game in a sea of pure 3D games
    
    Treasure for making this a good game that is accessible by hardcore players
    and casual players
    
    The diehard shoot 'em up community for showing the rest of us mere mortals
    the power of human potential
    
    Eagle Wind Missile corrections by Morgasaurus and MT3000 at Gamefaqs
    
    Nash and scientist pg from Gamefaqs for explaining the stage 4 organic wall
    
    Stage 6 boss correction by Akira
    
    Derek William for the correction in Stage 1 about number of capital ships 
    that appear if you destroy the first Bacterian Core ship fast enough.
    
    Johnny Wallbank for the announcer quotes when you use up your first credit.

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