Part 13: Find Hidden Base: Blizzack Staggroff
Extra Stage Thoughts
This starts out pretty cool. You're faked out into thinking you have to go into the desert again, but it's a "hidden" path to a completely different region. Sliding down into the cave is slick as hell and not really unfair, I'd say - it's very clear that for the next few seconds, there's going to be spikes everywhere and you've got plenty of room to dashjump like a fucking badass. The stalactites are staggered nicely and give you something to do besides jumping. Great introduction, too, with only the last set having deadly spikes below. And a very surprising extra touch which I only found by accident while recording!
The ice is equally surprising and a great contrast to the desert we just came from. Keep in mind that you don't really have to get the goodies at the end, so it's mostly short but sweet and showing off the turtles. The next mission in order (Rescue Colbor) will have those in far nastier spots, so its placement in line makes sense for once. You get to experience them on level terrain and can toy around a little. Also, R.C.'s boss will be weak to ice!
I don't like the bomb balls. It seems like they're timed so you can just wing it through them without having to wait but I'm just never quiiiite sure. Coincidentally, once you enter the base, the cool part is over. This series doesn't do stealth well, it's been pretty shitty (and ultimately without great consequence) in Occupy Factory and it is now. I could understand (and would hate) if getting spotted would deck you mission points, but it doesn't even do that. The spawns are annoying, sure, but eh. It more or less forces Buster usage, though, and I'm fine with that, because I love it. You best bet except for just spamming it, if you'ren not on Hard Mode, is equipping the Thunder Chip and freezing the watchers on the spot. They're harmless then. Really, the Fire Chip is terrible for this mission, but that's kind of a point I wanted to make. Strange because the boss is weak to it, and in most of the rest of the series, you can choose the element for the stage after its boss and be fine, but Zero 1 is a bit rough around the edges, after all.
Don't need to say too much more, I think I had enough time to talk in the video itself. I do appreciate the obvious care that was put into actually making the stage, now if they had just made it fun, that would have been perfect. Nice practice for the sequels, though.
- Spike Spray: Blizzack Staggroff shoots spikes from his shoulders in an arc. You're safe next to him and far away; this attack is the perfect opportunity for you to go to town on him. Not very threatening, though it can catch you off-guard due to its middling range.
- Blind Jump: He does a giant hop mostly aimed at Zero, but also often to gain a little distance. This is very problematic, as the arena is just too big for the screen. Especially if paired with the next move.
- Ice Shield: In a callback to Blizzard Buffalo's weapon from X3, a fast ice ball is aimed at Zero during Staggroff's jump, which leaves ice spikes on the floor. If Zero touches them normally, he'll get hurt; if the next attack pushes him into the spikes, he'll "merely" get frozen. Best avoidance: Keep an eye on the fucker. If you can see the shot getting fired, you can easily dodge it and his jump at the same time. If not, good luck.
- Crystal Gale: He blasts an icy wind from one of his cannons into Zero's face which pushes you back. You can fight it, but as the snow crystals that follow the main gale touch Zero, he'll get slowed more and more until you can no longer dash against the force of the wind. Shake left and right to get rid of the movement impeding crystals. As that's not problem, you should just dash towards him all the time, trying to connect hits; don't lose sight, it sucks.
- Icicle Gale (EX Skill):
Using both cannons at once, Staggroff replaces the crystals with deadly ice spikes. No longer recommended to dash into it trying to slash him!
As I've mentioned multiple times, the biggest issue with this fight is losing track of where he is and what he does. If you manage to stay close to him all the time and don't get nervous when you can't, it's a cakewalk. He's just far too vulnerable during everything he does except jumping that the fight is going to be over in a heartbeat. Another nice touch in this mission: Hitting him with the Fire Chip melts his shoulder ice spikes, which persists for a bit; he can't use his EX skill during that period, I don't exactly know if it influences other abilities of his.
As an aside, he is moderately fast in jumping around, but not much in anything else; I think the trend of bulky ice bosses that are slow and easy can still be called unbroken...
The level itself is really easy. Do farm the enemies at the start, it's the best spot; three times doubling back after having killed both snakes to the left does the trick. Don't fight the turtles. Remember where the false prisoners are. Don't get spotted. That's pretty much it, I think I've shown off most of the major headache-savers.
Staggroff is the main problem, for all the mentioned reasons; you can get rid of him very quickly, but should you get cocky, he will destroy your run very quickly. Even in a fight as fast as this, always keep your mind on staying close to him, and react to what he does appropriately.
Nothing new, because the abysmal track of the Disposal Factory mission plays here. Also hilariously unsuited to an infiltration/stealth mission, who'd have thought.
Voting for which mission to tackle next made Phantom a clear winner, so we're going to meet him in the next video!