This desert stage has a focus on speed. Speedy enemies, speedy bosses, and a speedy bike segment that might drive you a little crazy. But we'll worry about that later. Head right and you'll encounter a new obstacle. These walls can be knocked over with a few shots. This isn't very important yet, but it'll come in handy later. For now, just concern yourself with this new enemy.
Another simple enemy. They quickly move left or right, stopping and turning when they hit a wall, but that's about it. They only have 3 HP. This one might escape before you can even kill it. The enemy immediately next to it is the one you should worry about.
This one has a moderate amount of health and shoots lasers. It fires volleys of two shots, consisting of either one or three lasers aligned vertically, depending on its mood. It can also shoot balls out at an arc from its tail. It has a decently wide variety of attacks for a regular enemy, and will take a few shots to go down. Don't worry too much if you take a hit or two. You'll get used to these guys.
If you're following this guide closely, you won't have any use for this next part yet, but if you've already made some progress, this might be of interest to you.
There's a wall of dirt here next to the ladder. If you've beaten Wheel Gator, you can use his weapon to dig a tunnel here. The X-Hunter room is on the other side, along with a large health item. What's an X-Hunter room? Well, each stage has one, and eventually, special bosses can appear here. You'll have to defeat them all if you want the best ending. You can't enter them unless there is an X-Hunter inside. If you happen upon a door that won't open, it leads to an X-Hunter room.
Head down the ladder to proceed. Take out the Crash Roaders and you'll find yourself at the start of one of the trickiest parts of the game. Yes, already. But it won't get any easier if you come back to it later, so let's just do it now.
This is the Rider Chaser ADU-t400 Turbo, or "Cheval." You'll have to get used to the Cheval quickly. If it takes too much damage from enemies or crashes into a wall, it will explode. Remember that wall at the start of this stage? There are a lot of them here. The bike is equipped with a gun you can fire to knock them down. They'll take several shots, so it's best to always be firing. You can jump with the jump button, turn with the dpad, and boost with the dash button. Boosting on ramps will send you flying through the air. This is important! Do it whenever you see a ramp or even a hill. Ok, hop on and start shooting. You'll knock down the first (big) wall and drive over it. A sandstorm will start.
This new enemy isn't very dangerous, since you'll be shooting nonstop anyway. You'll take them out before they can do anything to you.
You'll pass a ramp, and another ramp. Boost on this second ramp to jump over the machine that's causing the storm. Otherwise, you'll crash into it, ending the storm but also ending your chances of collecting the heart tank here. You'll go over another ramp, then knock down a wall and turn it into a ramp. Boost on this one! It's the only way to make it over the pit without losing your bike. Keep firing! There's another wall right on the other side of the pit! The storm will stop and you'll be inside. Boost up the slant in here to jump over another pit. You'll land on some spikes.
This part is important! You have to time this just right or you'll crash your bike, land on the spikes and die. You'll find several power ups in a row. As soon as you touch the large weapon energy pickup (the big blue ball), hit left on the dpad. This will cause your Cheval to turn around, but it will continue to drift to the right a bit before it does. With the proper timing, you'll touch the heart tank and change directions before you hit the wall. If you turn too early, simply turn back to the right and try again. This may take you several attempts, but you can do it. I believe in you. Once you've collected it, head back to the left and just crash your bike into the wall. You won't need it any more.
Phew! It's tough, but since this uses mechanics that are only really used in this level (the Cheval) and the challenge comes from losing your bike and/or dying instantly (meaning no upgrades to your health or body, or sub tanks, will make it any easier), there's no reason not to just get it out of the way now. You won't be any better prepared for it later.
After all of that, a few Aclandae are nothing. Take them out and keep going.
When you reach a path down and to the right, dash jump over it to find a suspicious looking wall. If you have Wheel Gator's weapon, use it here to dig up a capsule containing the Leg Parts. These allow you to dash once while in the air, but they don't work during a dash jump. (That would just be broken.) They're not that useful considering you already get a lot of distance from regular dash jumps, but they will grant you access to some good stuff later. If you don't have Wheel Gator's weapon (which you don't if you're following this guide), you won't be able to get this yet. Don't worry, I'll remind you about this later.
Head down and to the right and fight another Aclanda before you reach the door to the boss' room.
I have a little confession. Overdrive Ostrich isn't actually the easiest boss to start with. That honour belongs to Wheel Gator. We're here to minimize backtracking later. However, his attack pattern isn't very complicated, so while he's quick, he's predictable. If you simply can't beat him, feel free to fight Wheel Gator first. For all of the Mavericks, your strategy will differ depending on if you have the weapon they're weak to or not. In this case, it's the Crystal Hunter weapon from Crystal Snail.
The Hard Way
This battle takes place in an open arena with no walls. You can move infinitely left or right. There are lots of hills, which will help you avoid some of his attacks. Without the Crystal Hunter, you'll need to be aware of his various moves. He'll spend most of his time dashing left or right. You can dash jump over him pretty easily, especially if you have the high ground. Sometimes he'll leap left or right instead. The best course of action in that case is to move to low ground and let him leap right over you. If he shoots a projectile at you, jump over it. It moves horizontally and down so it's not hard to dodge. When he jumps into the air, it means he's about to shoot a bunch of evenly-spaced projectiles into the air that will all come down in one horizontal line. Finally, if you see him running in the backgroud, he'll leap into the air and come down right on top of you. Make sure you're dashing in either direction when this happens.You can force him into the background by dashing far enough away from him. Attack with charged shots after he lands, or after he runs past/jumps over you.
The Easy Way
If you have the Crystal Hunter, you'll be able to freeze him in place for a moment and damage him. When he can move again, he'll leap into the air and use his horizontal line of projectiles that fall from the sky. He'll do this every single time, meaning he'll be even more predictable than he is without his weakness. When he lands, hit him again, and repeat that until he dies. If your timing is perfect, you can actually freeze him again before he has the chance to counter attack.
You'll earn your first special weapon.
Fire two slow-moving spinning projectiles that move sideways and upwards and bounce off of surfaces. If you have the arm upgrade, you can charge it to unleash a rain of projectiles that fall from above.
This weapon won't give you access to any new upgrades or collectibles, so let's just head to the Maverick that it can do a lot of damage to.
NEXT: Wire Sponge