While I'm not sure quite what it is Crash Man uses as his lair, there's no denying that it looks cool. Coppery pipes and bulbous orange containers form platforms leading so high into the sky that the atmosphere loses its color into the murky blackness that hides Crash Man's chamber.
Begin your ascent by making sure you have Metal Blades equipped. They're perhaps never more useful than they are in this stage, and you'll be using them constantly. Quickly take out the three robots patrolling the air above you, and head up the ladders. Those enemies re-spawn indefinitely, thanks to the pipes, so only defeat them if they get near enough to knock you from ladders.
In the next area, head to your right past some hardhat enemies. They are only vulnerable when they lift the lids to fire three-way shots, so you might take a small amount of damage when defeating each of these. Beyond is a ladder leading to the first of three rooms with mechanical lifts.
Here, somewhere off-screen, more pipes generate an endless stream of the robots. Your goal in each of these three screens is to reach the ladder in the top corner without being knocked from your perch. While you can switch to the Leaf Shield to accomplish this task, it's more fun to move about with Metal Blades serving as your protection. Either way, you shouldn't have much trouble getting to the top of this series of rooms if you keep your wits about you.
Once you're on level ground again, proceed to the right and take out the moving stone column. Regular arm cannon shots seem simpler here, though a Metal Blade can do the job just as well if it is aimed properly. Climb the ladder beyond and you'll ascend a few screens to the top. Here, you can look to the left and see another hardhat enemy resting on a ledge. If you try to actually shoot it when it is exposed, its return fire is likely to knock you off the ledge (not fatal, thankfully) and you'll have to climb again. An easier tactic is to simply hop quickly across the ledges so that your second hop takes you to the ladder over the enemy's head while its shots pass underneath you.
At the top of that ledge is more even ground, with two ladders and a hardhat. Take out the hardhat, then climb up the left of the two ladders. The next few screens can be a pain in the butt because there are birds that constantly bombard you with eggs, which then burst and send out flocks of miniature, mechanical birds. Metal Blades again can save the day, though you may still take a few hits if you're careless. What you want to do as you're climbing is to keep to the left. Keep ascending and you'll soon come to a ledge with an energy tank.
If you skipped the second energy tank in Metal Man's stage and got all the others without using any of them on previous boss encounters, you should now have four energy tanks in your possession. Now, you should see that the ledge allowing you to proceed is to your upper right, and you can't quite reach it with a normal jump. Rather than climbing back down the ladders to take the other branch, set out item number two to the left to serve as a ledge. Hop quickly to it, then back up to the right. You should reach the ledge if you do it right (note that Item-2 should be set high enough off the ground to serve as a genuine step, but not so high that you can't reach it with a hop from the ground).
Once you're up on that ledge, it's a simple walk to the right past some robots that rain down from the sky (Metal Blades take them out quickly, so you can recharge life and weapons energy if desired) to the gate that leads to this stage's robot master!
If you don't have any special weapons, this guy can be tough as nails. However, you do have the correct weapon if you've been following this guide.
Crash Man jumps all around the room, tossing his bombs. They do a lot of damage if they connect, and it's also going to hurt if you touch the robot's body. Your best chance is to end the battle quickly. The best way to do this is with the Air Tornado skill you acquired by defeating Air Man. In fact, two direct hits will put an end to Crash Man's evil ways. Your reward is the super-useful Crash Bomb.
A-5, B-2,4, C-3,5, D-4,5, E-2,4
NEXT: Heat Man