I haven’t played in a few days. Last time I played, where I left off I couldn’t figure out where to go. It seemed that the only unexplored places in Ferenia were icy zones that I couldn’t traverse.
The only exit from Ferenia that’s accessible to me is the train platform back to Ghavoran. I figure that with some of these new abilities I’ve picked up, I should at least be able to explore further and obtain some of the power-ups that I couldn’t get to previously if I return, and maybe I’ll find something that will enable me to deal with these cold zones.
So I go back to Ghavoran. I see nearby my arrival point there’s a Missile Container. I couldn’t reach it before because I couldn’t jump high out of the water, but now that I have the Space Jump, I should be able to get to it. I go to its location, and just before I can grab the missile container, the floor gives way beneath me, and I’m dropped down through a one-way Pitfall Block that reforms immediately after I fall through it. There’s only one way to go forward, so I proceed. Before long, I find a transport platform that will take me to Burenia.
I have little choice but to take it, so I do. I arrive at the green transport platform that I had found earlier in my run through Burenia, but couldn’t get into due to a blocked door that I couldn’t figure out how to open. I’m in the vicinity of the large, mostly-open water filled area, and my new abilities afford me mobility I lacked previously to get to the doorway high up on the left side of the chamber.
It turns out this area is fairly large. I find a Missile Container, an Energy Tank, and the Gravity Suit. The Gravity Suit is a big deal — it gives me the ability to move at full speed underwater, which means that I can now charge up a Speed Boost underwater. It also confers resistance to cold and lava, which means I can go through those cold areas and also I can now explore some areas in hot zones that were full of lava and therefore mostly still blocked off to me even with the protection of the Varia suit. It also reduces the damage that enemies do to me, and it increases the damage I do with melee attacks.
Getting to the Gravity Suit involves a lot of secret-finding techniques. It’s a long, twisty, but mostly linear route with many false dead ends that you have to use different abilities in order to proceed. I think you end up using almost everything you’ve found so far: the space jump, the stealth cloak, the grapple beam, bombs, storm missiles, and the charge shot. I don’t think I needed the flash shift, or the speed boost or shine spark, but everything else I’ve acquired from the start of the game came in handy. Toward the end, the “climax” of this exploratory jaunt is a section where I have to destroy sections of wall, causing a massive piece of machinery to fall, crashing through the floor of the chamber below, opening the way forward.
After I obtain the Gravity Suit, I’m free to go pretty much anywhere in the game. There’s still blocks that I can’t blow up — I haven’t found super bombs. I’m not sure what else there is to get in the game, but it seems like there must be at least two different types of blocks that I still can’t deal with. It’s possible I’m mistaken about that, and just haven’t realized what some of my powers can accomplish, though.
I continue to explore Burenia, and find a communication room where ADAM informs me that the X-parasites have taken over the entire planet, and I should assume everything I encounter is infected with X. This bears out with what I’ve been finding since I first encountered the X, so it’s not a surprise. ADAM also tells me that the planet is cooling, possibly due to the X-parasite (which seems weird that it would be related to that, and not, say, the changing of the seasons). This means it’s a good thing I acquired the Gravity Suit, then. But I think the real explanation for the planet cooling is that I just picked up the ability that makes it possible for me to endure the cold. I make my way to another transporter platform, this one will take me to Artaria. I haven’t been there in such a long time, and I’m sure there’s a lot of new areas that will be open to me now.
Given all the new areas I’ve unlocked and the progress I made toward opening up the icy regions of the Ferenia map, it feels like I was meant to go this way. It’s remarkable that the level design for the game can feel as open as it is, and yet still steer the player along the intended path through signposting, hinting, and the occasional one-way softlock.