Getting further in Ghavoran requires mastery of the double jump move. I am forced to learn quickly. I make it back to the tall cavern room with the organic platforms that drop you after a second when you touch them, and try to use the Spin Boost to get up and out of the room. It takes many attempts, but eventually I make it happen. While trying to get the double jump to work, I learn that you can’t do it unless you’re in a spinning jump. I guess, hence the name “spin boost”.
Up and out to the right, I run through the EMMI zone, and this EMMI has a new capability: its radar beam seems to do damage and stun me when it hits. This makes running away from it all the more difficult, as you can’t really run away when you’ve been stunned. Its a wide, cone-shaped beam, and it seems to hit automatically if I’m in its range, so it’s really tough. Adding to the challenge, you need to Grapple Beam swing across several magnetic panels in order to cross the ceiling of the room to get out.
I die several times, but eventually I get through, and make my way to the unexplored portion of the map, where I find the Control Room. I defeat the eye robot here, again it’s an easy fight, but for some reason I’m terrible at dodging the Rinkas and laser shots this time, and lose about half my life energy during the fight. It doesn’t matter, though, because your life energy doesn’t matter in a fight with the EMMI, since they will always one-shot you.
I obtain the Omega Beam and run out to find the EMMI and put it down. This proves tricky. For some reason the EMMI doesn’t try to hit me with its stun power this time, though. It just homes in on me for the kill. I run right, then jump up and loop back left. There’s a magnetic ceiling panel on a sliding track, which I use do get across the ceiling to a platform on the upper left of the room. This is a good place to hit EMMI with the Omega Beams to melt its face plate off. It takes a slow crawl across the ceiling, presenting a perfect target the entire time. It seems like this one is tougher because I seem to have to hit it a lot more to get its face off. By the time I manage to do it, it’s crossed the ceiling and is nearly on me.
I have to use the break-away move to avoid getting killed, and run for it, to the bottom right corner of the room, where I turn around and charge up my Omega Beam cannon to finish it off. It crawls toward me slowly, and I’ve set up a perfect shot just as it comes into view, and I let loose a blast that stops it dead in its tracks.
The reward for this fight is the Ice Missile. So instead of Ice Beams in this game, they give you Ice Missiles. I can freeze enemies that don’t die from one hit with an Ice Missile, and maybe that means that I can use them as a platform, like in old Metroid games I’ve played. I’ll have to test that out if it ever seems necessary.
I find that Ice Missiles also can be used to destroy these large, organic looking red pillars that I’ve seen growing here and there about Ghavoran. Some of these things are obstacles blocking corridors. In one spot, after clearing them out, I am able to use the Grapple Beam to pull a large block out of the way, opening up a new area. Beyond that, I find another power up: the Pulse Radar. This lets me scan the area for special blocks, which should help me figure out how to find hidden secrets more easily.
I continue exploring the rest of Ghavoran, until I find a new train platform, this one takes me to Ferenia. So it’s back to Ferenia, then.
In Ferenia, the X parasites are rampaging, making all the creatures there more dangerous. They do more damage, and take more hits to destroy. Melee counter is the surest way to take most of them down, as it still only takes one shot after a successful melee counter to destroy an enemy.
Not too far into Ferenia, I come to another EMMI zone. I was hoping I might get a break from the EMMI for a little bit, but it looks like I have to face another one right away. Fine by me.
This area is difficult to traverse. The bottom half is filled with water, which makes you slow and you can’t outrun the EMMI if you’re running through water, you can’t jump over it, either. I try to get through the area several times, but run right into the EMMI most times, and get caught. However, I am starting to get enough practice with the melee counter move to get away from the EMMI that I’m starting to pull it off reliably. I’m still only hitting it about 1/3 to 1/2 of the time, but that’s a big improvement over my skill before. My problem is that I always hit the button much too early, but I’m starting to overcome my instinct and waiting the extra beat necessary to pull it off.
It doesn’t help much, because once you’re caught, you can’t get away when you’re underwater unless you’re very lucky and have some stealth cloak energy. But mostly hiding from the EMMI with the stealth cloak is delaying the inevitable. It patrols and almost finds you, then walks away, and just when you think you’re safe, it doubles back and re-investigates the spot you were hiding in. Usually you run out of the energy that powers the stealth cloak and then it starts draining your life energy. Your movement speed is reduced even further by having stealth mode active, which means you can barely move underwater, and can’t jump to the underwater platforms that you need to climb on to escape when you’re cloaked, making the cloak next to useless.
After about 10 or so tries, I finally figure out that the best route to take is the upper route, and that now that I have the spin boost move, it’s a lot easier than it looks to go this way. Remembering the newly acquired ability is important! I make a run for it, and get to the second room, where I briefly do need to cloak myself in order to throw EMMI off the trail, fortunately in this room you can make significant progress through it while cloaked. I get to a door on the opposite side and escape the EMMI’s territory, and find myself next to another door that leads to the Map Room for this zone. I download the map data and also save.
The only way out is back the way I came, through the EMMI zone, and into harms way again. I instinctively don’t go back by the same route, instead opting to go upwards and to the left, into an area of the map I haven’t explored yet. I find a false ceiling that I can bomb through, and take this route up and then go to the right as far as I’m able to, and find another save point. Why they put another save point so close to the Map Room, I don’t understand. But I’ve seen it many times in this game that the save points seem to be clustered in certain areas of each zone.
There’s a door to the right of the save room, but it’s locked an I can’t open it, so the only way to go again is back left. This time I have no choice but to go back into another EMMI patrol zone, this one vertically above the one I came through to get to this point. I have to move quickly, the EMMI is on my tail almost immediately, but I am quick and make it up, where I have two doorways. I notice that the left is an EMMI zone door, so if I take it, the EMMI can’t follow me; I decide this is the best option for now, and take it. Here, I find an energy recharge station, which I don’t need, and a glowing green block that I can’t move or destroy by any known means. I’ve seen a number of these blocks and I still don’t have the capability to move them.
I can see then that my only way forward is to the right. I go back into the EMMI zone and take the right door, and I have a long run through an underwater area. I move as quickly as I can, enabling my cloak at the last second before the EMMI latches on to my trail. Then, cloaked, I move to the right as far as I can, until I have to start making jumps to climb up on to platforms that I can’t reach while cloaked. I de-cloak, and just hope I’m fast enough. The EMMI starts giving chase almost immediately, but I’m far enough ahead of it that I’m able to get out of the water. At this point, there’s a door to my left, but it only goes back into the room I just came though a moment ago. Above me is a sliding track magnet panel on the ceiling. Grabbing this, I zip across to the right end of the room, right over the EMMI as it’s about to close in on me. I jump down and to my right is an exit to the EMMI patrol zone. I’m safe, I did it.
I get through the door and find the way leads downward. There’s a door to the left, which I blast open using a charge shot. It’s the right side door to the save room I was just in a few minutes ago. So now I have opened it, and this makes it a shortcut that avoids that whole area I just had to survive.
I save again, and then proceed to the right. There’s a tunnel that I have to turn into morph ball to get through, and it takes me into an area where I find a full E-Tank, a Total Recharge Station, and an empty room with a large statue. I expect a power-up to be given here, but it’s just an empty room, apparently. I can continue going to the right, and since it seems to be the only other unexplored area, that’s what I do.
I go through a short tunnel and emerge into a room that appears to be along the outer walls of the building. Outside I can see sky, and there’s a lot of wind, and some X-infested creatures flying around outside. But there doesn’t seem to be a way to get outside. I use the Pulse Radar ability and see that there’s breakable blocks above and below. Above turns out to be a dead end, but below I make progress, and find a boss room.
This boss is called Escue. It’s an X-corrupted scarab-like creature, that flies above and is invulnerable to attacks when it has its shell shut. When it attacks, it opens its shell, and is vulnerable to charge shots and missiles, briefly. Its attacks are all but impossible to dodge, and deal tremendous damage such that I can sustain only about 4 or 5 hits before I drop. It’s not easy to aim at it while I’m dodging, and if I don’t focus 100% on dodging, I get hit, and even when all I do is dodge, I still get hit most of the time.
Escue has a few different attacks: A black ball that launches out at me, then if it doesn’t hit me directly, it sits on the floor and does damage in a burst of energy after a few seconds. It also has a stream of black worm-like things that fly out at me. Finally, it can rush at me, and when it does this it doesn’t seem to have a counter. There’s no distinctive white flash that tips off a melee counter is possible, or if there is it’s so hard to see I can’t pick it up.
This is the toughest boss I’ve had to face yet, mainly due to its mostly invulnerability and how hard its attacks are to dodge.