Part 4: Toad Man
This is a nice and simple stage and I very much recommend it for beginners. The first part is a bit rough, what with countless enemies from everywhere, but it's a great tutorial for the Buster. If you use it correctly, you can take out the penguins swarms without a fuss, and the umbrella dudes shouldn't be a problem anyway. The only thing to watch out for is that one innocent-seeming jump, but that's also a good introduction, because MM4 loves those.
The sewer section following is a complete non-issue, as even without Skull Barrier, the enemies are pushovers. Jumping isn't too hard either, the water doesn't matter at all. Don't miss the health refills if the beginning was too rough.
Snail one takes just a little getting used to, but the right combination of sliding and jumping can clear the bombs and eyes without big problems. The second one is an entirely different matter, putting the skills of luring out the bombs and waiting for which attack is going to come to the test. It's not too terribly hard, but one should keep in mind that the waterfall will hinder jumping.
The water part with the fishes which serves as the home stretch is deceptively nasty; there is one jump with the low block above that's also kind of a bitch because bonking your head means spiky death. The fishes aren't that easy to deal with either if you're not taking your time, but in the end, slow and steady wins the race.
I really like the stage, it's very fair with the nice gauntlet at the start that allows for some sweet dodging moves, and you'll get better every time you play it. For taking so long to kill, the Snails aren't too bad either, despite me generally hating on minibosses a lot.
Toad man is...well, I can't think of any other examples, so I'm just going to state it as fact, the easiest Robot Master in the whole series. He's got two attacks. One is jumping at you, which anyone should be able to avoid by using the slide, and the second is dancing for a second to start a rain flush.
Which is very damaging and can kill you pretty quickly. However, there's one easy method of interrupting him so he'll never be able to pull it off, and that's shooting. Yeah. What you'll be doing anyway. I originally thought that you had to use at least a half-charged shot (which doesn't do more damage than a normal one, but it looks different), but yeah. He's that pathetic.
The one spot of trouble you can get into is by getting cocky - what I seem to do effortlessly (), firing charged shots back-to-back, actually has somewhat tricky timing. Too early, only half-charged shot, too late and the Rain Flush will go off. If you insist on charging, but realize that you get hit by it all the time, just don't do it. It's not as if he'll hit you with his jumps.
- Escaroo: Escargot is French for snail. Again with that language! There should be more German enemy name derivatives, really.
The Snail minibosses have two attacks, shooting a bomb that's aimed at Mega and will explode in typical bomb fashion (with a large AOE), or shooting their eyes for whatever reason. They can only be harmed by being shot in said eyes when they're open. Take six charged shots to down. Dodging the first is trivially easy, for the second you should get smart with taunting the bombs. Eyeshot out of nowhere can trip you up, but if you generally stay away from the edges, it's not big deal.
Gyotot: Those Robot Fishes are pretty generic enemies that can be downed in one shot, but are quite effectively placed to hinder you. They always jump at the same locations, at least it seems so to me, in order to hit you in mid-jump or when you're just landing on a platform. A great example of how enemy placement can make easy enemies and easy jumps together into a challenge.
Puyoyon: Blob! They lurk on the ceiling, trying to land on Mega when he approaches. Seeing as you can see them beforehand...there's not threat here whatsoever.
Rackaser: They fall down slowly, fold up their umbrella and shoot it at Mega, whereafter they charge him. The latter two parts shouldn't even happen if you're halfway quick on your trigger finger. Also, apparently all but one special weapon will kill them instantly anyway, so yeah. Use them, I can't stress this enough.
Ratton: Hopping after Mega, those are the second enemy in the sewer that's completely harmless.
Swallown & Coswallown: Someone at the design team loves penguins...those will swoop in, then upon nearing Mega, let loose their three followers directly at his location. Can get tricky to avoid. Taking out the lead will cause the followers to fly on, sparing you the homing attack; but only if they haven't been shot yet, obviously. Not too easy to avoid but placed gently (not over pits), and four targets means as many chances of getting a health refill anyway.
- Toad Man - I used to hate it, but it's grown on me. It's certainly...strange. Just like its Robot Master, so a perfect fit at the very least. The dissonance and weirdness won't be anyone's taste, so to each his own. For me, it's not my favourite, but I definitely like it.