Fireman Stage Overview- As you would expect going into a guy named Firemanís house, this place is going to have tons of hot loviní floatin around. Literally. Pools of magma replace what would be beds of spikes, but itíll kill you all the same. Lots of fire-based obstacles and traps wait for you here.

Fireman Stage Enemies- Screw Driver, Changkey, Killer Bomb, Gabyoall

Fireman Stage Walkthrough- You start things off on a platform beneath two other ledges that are home to one Screw Driver each. By now, you should have little trouble in dealing with them, so take them out without a fuss and make your way up and around the ladders to move right. In a few steps, an identical situation to the very start of the level will show up, only in reverse. Take out the cannons and go downward this time until you reach the Magma Lake.

Out of the Magma Lake three Changkeys will shoot upwards and disappear off screen for a few seconds before slowly falling downwards. Theyíre not too hard to dodge by themselves, but they can be a nuisance when you have other traps to worry about, like the flame tower that keeps shooting out of the column you have to jump onto to reach a pair of ladders that lead to the next screen. A large health item rests opposite the ledge with the top ladder, so use the Magnet Beam to nab it if you need it, but itís so early in the level you really shouldnít at this point.

In the next screen, a series of ladders leads to the next screen above, with a pair of flame towers guarding two small health items. I suggest ignoring them for now, especially after youíve grabbed a large health item below. The flames will do more damage than those two items can repair if youíre hit. Just keep going upward and hope that some enemy you destroy will drop some easier to get health if you really need it.

Now, a pair of flame towers guard the lower pathway, while the use of a Magnet Beam here will get you on the safe above trail with two large weapon energy pick ups. Seriously, do you really need to think about what path you should take here? Didnít think so. Keep soldiering on and youíll be on top of another set of platforms that have Firemanís version of the Thunder Beam trap down below. Some quick jumping will steer you clear of danger and you can keep going towards another pair of flame towers that block your pathway to the next part of the trip. Some more well timed leaping should serve you well yet again and three small health items lie in wait next to the descending ladder youíll need to take. Man, Fireman must be really generous! His boss battle must include a civilized negotiation if heís this charitable!

Down the ladder, a pair of flame towers burn over some rocky terrain, with a trio of Changkeys flying out of the lava below to greet you. Avoid them all and climb down the next ladder to find yourself amongst another gaping pool of magma. Curve your jump slightly to land on the thin ledge below, which is half occupied by a flame tower. At this time, another trio of Changkeys fly out of the lake and back down again, so keep moving.

After climbing a short ladder onto a floating platform, shuffle over to the very edge to make a fairly long jump. Just be sure to wait for the Changkeys to stop flying out of the lava, which would knock you down real fast. After youíve made the miracle leap, navigate the two other columns with the flame towers and climb yet another ladder to advance to the next screen.

Now hereís an interesting set up- some sort of piping lies in a twisty pattern, with some openings in it in the areas you need to cross. Funny how that works, huh? The magma waves move pretty fast, so itís all about timing here. That, or itís all about busting out the Magnet Beam, making a small platform, and jumping to the safety of the ladder above and bypassing all of that nonsense. Whichever works for you.

In the next screen, youíll be in front of a small hole with a large staircase-like structure. A stream of Killer Bombs show up to slow you down, so try to avoid shooting them and getting all explodey. A zigzag maze full of Gabyoalls await you, so its time to break out the Thunder Beam on these things to get them out of the picture quickly while avoiding the Killer Bombs. Once youíre out of the maze, a large weapon energy container sits atop a ladder, daring you to pick it up. Triple dog daring you, in fact. Are you gonna take that from an inanimate object? Get up there and show it whoís boss.

After the ladder, a series of small ledges float in a fixed state above the lava, with Changkeys erupting from the lake in between the platforms. Keep moving forward and Firemanís door will be in sight, which is guarded by two flame towers. Sneak past them and into the tunnel to Firemanís chamber, which is guarded by some ceiling-mounted Screw Drivers. Take Ďem out and get ready to continue being sick of all of this red by now.

Boss Fight: Fireman- Fireman has a really strange pattern to him. He actually mimics your forwards an backwards movements, and will go as far as the center of the room when youíre against the wall. With this pattern, heíll usually be 1/3 of a screen away from you at all times. If you corner him against the wall, heíll  start running back and forth around the room until you back off, so try to keep him away from the back of the room by staying close to your way. Think of it as a weird version of dodge ball. Of course, heís got a way to attack you in the form of the Fire Storm. Itís a wave of fire thatís a bit taller than you and moves forward at a pretty fast pace, so jump over it. Sometimes heíll launch two of these things at once, but a single jump can  usually put you over both  of them.

Thereís also another gimmick to this battle. A small burst of flame comes out of nowhere under your feet every now and then. Usually, itíll appear either right under you or just behind you as youíre dodging the Fire Storms. They can cause some nasty damage if you keep getting hit by them. Luckily the Mega Buster takes away two life ďticksĒ in a single shot, making Fireman as weakly armored as Bombman. But, just go along with the Ice Slasher if you want this done fast, and just make sure you avoid more damage than your doling out to Fireman and youíll be outta here in no time and ready to tackle Dr Wily himself.

Weapon Profile: Fire Storm- This is a pretty plain Jane weapon if you ask me, with a straight forward projectile of flame that travels at a decent pace, plus the bonus of a spinning wall of protective fire that  is present as long as the projectile remains on screen. Itís probably the first ďshield-typeĒ Master Weapon of the series, given itís protective qualities, but unfortunately the shield effect doesnít stick around for very long. This is a good weapon to fall back on if you need to take care of a lot of baddies and donít want to waste Thunder Beam ammo, and itíll make the fight with Bombman even more easy.


Next Stage: Dr Wilyís Castle 1