Section 5B: Long Road Ver. B
This is it. It's a long road from here on out. Hence the name.
However, of the three routes you could've taken... This is definitely the easiest one.
Almost insultingly so, actually! Prepare to tear through this area!
The first location is the area I call the Heart Base, as some of the tiles on the floor in the interior sections are arranged in a heart formation. Aww. Anyway, on the other routes this place is pretty brutal- there's not many icons to pick up, and you're mostly fighting packs of Waltar tanks as well as every other kind of tank in the game... In this one, though, there's plenty of supplies scattered about (including three Energy icons on the bridge) and the majority of the tanks, with the exception of a few Becks Haus still roaming around, are now one-hit Louis and Gustafu tanks. Needless to say, this makes this area a lot easier, and you can comfortably rip through it without really trying. I mean, don't get too cocky- the Becks Haus can still murder you even on this route, but it's a hell of a lot easier than what you might expect.
Anyway, once you're through there, you get a gauntlet of Louis tanks that shouldn't trouble you at all, then fort time! This is a simpler fort than some of the others you've fought- just four cylinder turrets. Sadly, they do track your movements, but with the F icons you've picked up, you should be able to take them out. Just get in a safe space, wait until one stops firing, then close in and pelt it. Once all of them are down, there's no mega-cannon to fight this time, so go through the door.
Next area is the crate maze, and a proper boss lurks at the end.
Not much to say about this crate maze- it makes use of the weird horizontally-wrapping nature of the world of Iron Tank. Blow through the doors, take out any tanks along the way, and you'll soon reach the top where a Waltar guards the open entranceway. Blow 'em away, and inside...
It's the second Think Tank model... Think Tank (C-Type).
The C stands for cannon as that's what it has for its main weapon, much like the long-range turret that I'm hoping you destroyed like you were supposed to. The Think Tank moves weirdly- it can only move up and diagonally down, and while it's doing that it'll periodically launch cannon shells that veer in one direction- usually your direction- and that's all it really does. Its movement can be deadly, as just brushing against this thing will ravage your health bar, so don''t run into it! Your best bet is to switch any available weapon upgrades (V is the most important) and try to stay above the nozzle of its canon. As long as you're out of the cannon's range, all you have to worry about is the tank itself. You can't stay on one side forever though, so wait until it fires a cannon then swoop in-front of it and get to the other side before it fires again. Just keep your cannon on it, and it'll eventually explode.
Onwards, then, to the Lake, and if you've read any of the other routes, you know that hell awaits you.
... Er, except it doesn't. Not in the crazy world of Section 5B.
The lake has now turned into one of the easiest sections in the entire game! Although the general layout is similar- it's a mess of little islands connected by tight boardwalks, meaning there's little room to move or take cover in- the enemy roster has changed significantly. Rather than mostly being Waltar and Becks Haus tanks that will tear you to shreds, Section 5B's version of the lake is almost completely populated by infantry. To an insane degree, in fact. Now, as we should know by this point, you can refill your tank's health by running infantry over... So that means you can basically run through this area and take their shots, but still have your meter no worse for wear. Admittedly, if the grenade-lobbing enemies gang up on you, you can take a beating, but if you're quick, that won't be a problem. The one caveat is that there are no checkpoints in this version of the stage. You have to make it through on one tank... It's easy enough, though. Just blast through here and get ready for the last fort of this route.
Bet you'll be glad to see the back of these, eh? This should be the third fort you've seen so far, and it's actually a bit easier than previous ones. There's four turrets, but these ones won't track your movements this time- they'll only fire forward, so they're simple to take out, just fire from the side. The big cannon is pretty intimidating, mind- four cannons! However, you should deal with it as you've dealt with all the forts up to this port- switch your V on, keep central to its massive weak point, and it'll blow up sooner or later. Blast the doors open and we'll press on.
We now enter the boat section- a tough area in the other routes, as it's absolutely clogged with enemy turrets launching cannon fire at you... Here, though, it's barely worth writing about. Every single turret on those ships has been replaced with infantry, meaning it's a cakewalk. Even better, the ? icons are still around, and unlike the other routes you won't have cause to use them, so you can stockpile them in case you missed any on your way here. I really don't have anything to add about this- it's really, really simple.
However, the boss at the end is unchanged, so we'll have to talk about it- it's a giant boat. Unnamed in the instruction manual, this behemoth comes equipped with two massive cannons that barrage you with fire constantly, and can be a tough fight if you're ill-equipped. The cannons are the weak point, but actually hitting them is the hard part, as you'll need to stay behind cover as much as possible. Ideally, you should flick L and F on, so your shots will be able to reach and will sail over the building with doors so you can stay under cover. Just having L will do nicely too, although you'll have to pop from behind cover, fire then flank back. If you've got nothing in your L meter... The only way to reach the cannons with standard fire is to press up against the edge of the platform, so you'll have to do that while there's an opening- I recommend hugging the side of the wall with doors on the opposite side the boat's on- getting a few shots in then retreating to cover. It'll take longer, but you can beat the boss this way! Luckily, the sheer amount of supplies in Section 5B should keep you from running out of anything.
Once we're done there, the easiness of Section 5B finally wanes- the next area's much the same as in 5A and 5C.
First, we get a communiqué from the allies. Incoming transmission!
Luckily our next stop is the enemy's air base, so we'd better sort this out.
The first section here is probably the only place in the game where the enemy fighter planes will really give you bother. It's basically a runway, so it's a long vertical stretch, and bombers will constantly rain fire down on you. Your only recourse is to get the hell out of their way as unlike previous encounters, they seem to be designed to actually hit you. They also cross the screen horizontally here which they don't do very often elsewhere. Generally, the safest place to be is on the grass to either side of the runway, but you can't stay on either side long before something blocks your way. On the runway itself, there's mostly Waltar and Becks Haus tanks in the way. The enemy really do want you out of their hair, don't they? Take it slowly, being sure to take out any tanks along the way, and get used to changing direction quickly to avoid those bombs!
At the end, you'll find the air base itself. Bust the door open, and...
Well, this is different. Grounded aircraft that still put up a fight.
As you approach these planes, tiny turrets will appear on them and open fire. Destroy the turret and the plan will explode just like when a boss is defeated, i.e. the screen fills with white flashes and everything slows down. However, while the turrets will trace your position to an extent, they can't aim behind themslves... So when you first enter this area, you can just march straight ahead and they'll never hit you. As you pass then, though, some tanks will arrive, and they're better shots. Try not to move left or right though, because where you enter the room is the perfect position for encountering the first of these planes you have to fight. It's a huge plane that completely blocks your path, and as well as two mini-turrets that won't be able to hit you if you didn't move horizontally and two smaller planes to each side, it has a turret in the middle. This one won't appear until you're close enough (and it'll probably hit you) but once it's there, switch L on, stand back and hit it. Destroying the turret blows the whole plane up.
Further into the base there's a few more tanks and one more massive plane blocking the exit...
Again, just blow up the middle turret and we're out of here.
(You'll notice the sole proper difference on this route here- the plane at the end is different!)
There's a small stretch of airfield left (watch out for those bombers) but then... Incoming transmission!
This is the final message you'll get from the allies. At least we wiped out their air force...
Cripes, that took a while... But we're done now. Proceed to the final area, Section 6: Enemy Headquarters.