A dull gray interior filled with electric traps, bottomless pits, and spike-covered ceilings serves as the lair for Spark Man. This stage is one of the most difficult of the initial eight, and you should be prepared for a few frustrating moments between its start and its conclusion.
From the very start, you'll have plenty of enemies to worry about. On the ledge above, one of the suctioned eyeballs works left and right. If you wait for it to fall, it never will. Instead, take the proactive approach and quickly ascend the ladder, then fire a few shots before the guy can hit you. Now climb the ladder to the left, which leads up into a new corridor.
Move to the right and you'll notice gray, chimney-shaped patterns in the ceiling. Robots will emerge from these. They look like plugs from a VCR or something. Every so often, they'll pause in mid-air and fire shots in eight directions. The safest place to be is just to the right of the space directly beneath the robot at the time it fires, as one shot will then pass just to your left and another just to your right.
Avoid these fellows and their shots as you make your way to the right (cross the single bottomless pit with caution; no good having a spark knock you to your death). Along the way, there are security panels that slide about and occasionally send out walls of electricity. You must time your jumps so that you pass through when there's no electrical charge, or you'll take some damage.
When you reach the end of the hall, a ladder will take you up to the next room. The guy that occupies this area should be familiar by now, so take your time hitting him whenever he doesn't have his projectile whirling about as a shield. When he's gone, climb the ladder into the next hallway.
You're now at one of the stage's more challenging points. Head right and you'll see a bottomless pit. There are red ledges with arrows that point upward, toward a spike-lined ceiling. You must cross the pit by using those ledges. Whenever you step on one, it starts rocketing toward the ceiling. They move so fast that if you delay for long, you'll be high enough in the air that a jump will puncture your armor on the spikes. Jumping too soon without enough distance will send you into the pit. Either way, it's dangerous. Therefore, you'll want to make a series of rapid, well-timed leaps to get across the pit.
Once you reach the other side, you're still not out of the woods. There are some narrow ledges here, again lined by the security panels that like to generate those walls of electricity. Time your jumps carefully yet again, so that you pass through and can climb the ladder up to the relative safety of the next room. Here, there's a bulldozer you must disable with three arm
cannon shots, and you can also use the Rush Coil ability to hop up to an energy refill on the ledge above.
When you're ready, go ahead and climb the ladder to the left, then walk to the right and drop down a long, vertical pit that takes you up to the level's single checkpoint. With that done, press onward to the right. In this hallway, there are more of the chimney-like pipes, but they don't send out the plug-shaped enemies. Instead, they drop enormous boulders that can instantly crush you if you're careless. Move near each, wait for a boulder to fall, then hop over it and run to the next such pipe. There are three of them, and just beyond lies the most challenging portion of the stage.
You are now at an even wider, bottomless pit. Again, spikes line the ceiling. Again, you'll have to use the red platforms to cross. However, there's a new wrinkle: the enemies that populated the first portion of Top Man's stage choose here to make their reappearance. The best technique seems to be to walk to the edge of the first ledge overlooking the red blocks, shoot the robot that will materialize, then hop like crazy across the pit, lingering on the red ledges no longer than necessary, jumping to the next before the robots overhead have time to materialize fully.
There's good news, though. When you get to the opposite side of that gaping pit, you'll be able to take a few steps and enter the gate that leads to the stage's robot master. Whew!
NEXT: Snake Man