Now I'm really cooking with this game! (Pun not intended but welcome nonetheless.
) I cheated a bit and consulted ewhac's Let's Play to see how to get to the top of "Jump", though I figured out how to get the jetpack from there on my own. Blitzed through another six levels and loving it.
"Sponge" took a bit of adjusting to, but it's enjoyable and not difficult once you get the hang of using the jetpack. Finding the hidden flamethrower was fun, though I'm disappointed that they put it in an area where it's not at all useful.
"Core" seemed like a huge jump in difficulty at first: swarms of enemies everywhere, no place to hide, and precious few health pickups in sight. However, after a dozen or so attempts I got the level figured out. If you just avoid certain enemies, take out the others in as small bunches as possible, and get the goodies from the secret wall niches it's not too bad at all. The long central pit design is pretty unique for the time, and makes a great place to play with the jetpack. Getting into the core itself for the first time was a real trip, too.
"Shuttle" was a quickie but a goodie. A neat little design, and some fun in-the-air combat with the Wailer ripping through enemy wings.
"Tombs" was... weird. But not in a bad way. After navigating through the strange aerial maze and blasting through the Amazons I nearly ran right into the exit, but I was concerned that there were all these rockets lying around but no rocket launcher yet. I checked the map, realized I had yet to explore a whole two thirds of the level
, and suddenly remembered those two teleports near the beginning of the level that I hadn't gotten around to using. After fun blasting aplenty, I had my nice new rocket launcher, which is pretty sweet, even though the rocket launcher seems a lot less useful in PO'ed than in other first person shooters due to the generally wide open levels.
Next came "Spiral", which is labeled "secret level" though I'm stumped as to how it can be secret when I got there through the only exit from "Tombs" that I could find. Has anyone managed to complete the game without accessing this level? Either way, it's easily my least favorite level thus far. I've said it many times before, but first person platforming does not work, and this level is particularly strong proof of that. At least I got an amazing double-ammo-and-fuel upgrade out of it.
And "Power Plant" made up for "Spiral" to a large extent. The setup is excellent, and I honestly wasn't expecting to find myself in a boss fight despite the level being an ideal boss arena. I'm a big fan of boss fights, so taking on Arnie was very satisfying. I love how beating him opens up a stackload of goodies near the level exit. Also, taking on a replicating slime with a rocket launcher is quite an experience.
I've only just started "Pompous Medium Rare", but already it seems annoyingly hard. I found the first room of "Pompous" to be an inordinately difficult place to start the game, and this has turned up the heat a few notches with those dangerous new Rovers. Wish me luck.