This stage has just about the best music in the entire game, both for the stage itself and the subsequent boss battle. Just throwing that out there.
So if the last stage was the above ground Imperial dig site, this stage is the below ground dig site. This tunnel is one of many such tunnels across the Panzer Dragoon world. Tunnel levels like this one are sort of a once-a-game staple of the Panzer Dragoon series.
Its down in these tunnels where we start encountering Pure Type monsters with some regularity. You cant really tell at first blush, but theres actually a part in the level where you stop encountering Imperial fighters and start encountering nothing but Pure Types until you hit the boss. The in-story implication is that either the Empire has only reclaimed a certain extent of the tunnels from the Pure Types, or that their pursuit of Kyle and Lagi into the tunnel woke up all the nesting Pure Types and they killed the Imperial units in the three-way firefight with Kyle and Lagi.
Or so Id like to think.
Theres also these rooms that show up a few times over the course of the stage:
TravelLog points out in the video that these curious cavernous rooms appear to be littered with piles of bones. And Im inclined to agree with him. They always looked like weird mass graves and were incredibly unsettling to fly through, even as a kid.
Again, I dont really have a lore explanation for this other than more subtle implied stuff. Because Pure Types are still living creatures, they still need to eat things. So I got a feeling that these rooms are either some kind of communal feeding ground or refuse disposal pits for the Pure Types, who either corral prey who wander into the tunnels into rooms like these and feed on them, or just a place to dump the bodies of their carrion after they were finished feeding.
Because every K-A-rated mid-90s video game designed for kids needs a subtle element of :stonk: to it.
And on that note, heres WotAs summary of this Episode:
The Will of the Ancients posted:EPISODE 4
The ruin complex was a dark and ancient labyrinth; ageing machinery waited silently within its walls, and its passages and corridors stretched deep below the surface of the world. The Imperial fighter ships followed Kyle and the dragon for some time, swarming through the darkness and spraying gunfire at the pair. As Kyle descended further into the tunnels though, the pure-type monsters that the Ancients had left behind as sentinels began to awaken.
Deep below the surface, Kyles presence disturbed an enormous flying guardian from the Ancient Age. The massive creatures armour was completely immune to his dragons lasers, and Kyle had to rely on his own skill with the ancient handgun that he wielded in order to overcome this bio-engineered monstrosity. Soon after the battle, the Dark Dragon sped out of the shadows behind Kyle and his dragon; they rushed after the creature, reaching the end of the ruins and bursting into the sky above a vast forest.
This is the point where the game cuts off if youre playing the game on Easy. Episodes 5, 6, and Last Episode are locked down to Normal mode.
Yep, Sega holds the games ending hostage from casual players. They were making games with git gud son! as a design philosophy a full 15 years before From Software made the phrase famous with :darksouls:.
The game also doesnt play the ending cinematic if you break down and use the Invincibility Mode cheat too. Sega was fucking hard back in the 90s.
I have a complex history with this boss. This was the boss that kicked my ass so many times before I finally figured out how to beat it way back when. And yet I love its general design and the music that accompanies it.
I have no idea what its supposed to be. Its not a Pure Type (to my knowledge) and based off the sounds it makes and the gears that you can see on the top of its head and how it was seemingly dormant until Kyle and Lagi woke it up it looks like its mechanical in nature. Hence why I dub it the windup bird. That and Haruki Marukami.
Like I say in the video, this is the boss that rattles first time players because of a variety of factors. First off all, it tries to psyche you out. It chases after you for no reason, it gets in your face right off the bat, and its goddamn persistent. Second, its got the widest array of attacks of any boss weve encountered so far. It fires its arm off at you, launches volleys of plasma shots at you, and tries to carve you up with its eye laser. And lastly and most importantly: its immune of lock-on attacks.
I should amend that to say that every part of it except its head is immune to lock-ons, but its got so many targetable areas on it that are immune that youre liable to not even manage to target the head when you sweep the reticule over it. And yet, I manage to kill it with a lock-on to the head anyway, so :shrug:.
The general strategy for taking this boss out is to spam the fire button and blow its wings off with Kyles blaster then focus on hitting the head.
From a storyline perspective, this is the boss that really shows you that Kyle and Lagi are meant to be a team. Lagi, who is responsible for the lock-on homing lasers, is pretty much useless in this fight so its up to Kyle with the Sky Riders blaster to take out the tunnel guardian.
Now Segas doing How to Train Your Dragon a full 20 years before Dreamworks did