World 2 - Rotorua
The kid gloves haven't been taken off just yet, but Rotorua- in reality a city 140 miles away from Auckland, situated by the Lakes of Rotorua where the city gets its name and famous for natural geysers- is still a step up, with many new enemies showing up that will dog you for the rest of rhe game. There's also a lot more environmental hazards to deal with, including an uptick in the number of spikes, larger water areas to swim through, and in 2-1 and 2-4, cannons that would love nothing more than to lodge a big ol' bullet in Tiki's head. However, a bit like Worlds 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 in Super Mario Bros., Rotorua is a 'flyover world' of sorts, as using Warps will skip over most of it. Still, we'd better cover it, hadn't we?
A lot of important enemies make their first appearance here, chief among them being the spikey orange menace Frankie. You may have seen them briefly at the end of 1-4 if you dilly-dallied before the boss room, but this time they're out in force If it's not obvious from the thorns all over them, Frankies are one of the few enemies that can kill Tiki just be touching him, and while they don't exhibit this behaviour in this stage, they can duplicate themselves and very quickly fill a platform. They're also faster than most other enemies and will try to pursue you when they can, so don't hesitate, take them out! There's also Mr. Wakelin, who'll run around and make random enemies spawn at a frightening rate, to the point where enemies won't even spawn from doors if he's allowed to run amok. He doesn't have a vehicle to call his own just yet, but give it time. The last of the critical enemies is easily missable, but the Astronaut appears here for the first time, with its amazing UFO vehicle and deadly laser- they luckily telegraph well in advance before they fire. Finally, there's a few less important enemies- the Pumpko uses a Hot-Air Balloon and drops bombs from above, usually trying to stay above you, while the Winged Cat is mostly harmless except when scratching in the air, at which point it'll kill you. Quite a few newcomers, then!
Luckily, you'll encounter these enemies in fairly easy circumstances. After making your way across some blocks at the start, your first Mr. Wakelin will spawn below the stairs heading down. You get to see him at work as you won't be able to take him out until he jumps up, so before you continue just try and take out any super-dangerous enemies he spawns. Making your way up a little, you'll find a choice of three shafts to ascend, and the walls in there are lined with cannons. They're a little inconsistent, and it seems that some of them can be despawned so they'll never fire if too many enemies are around, but some of the shafts are also patrolled by Frankies. Your best bet is the middle, as while it has both Frankies and cannons, it also has a few EXTEND letters, a laser UFO (!) parked at the top (although this can despawn too sometimes- if it does, wait and two Astronauts will spawn here, the only place you can see them this round) and hugging the side of the wall where the cannons are firing from means ones firing on the floor won't hit you (just be careful with your jumping for the higher cannons, they can still get you). You won't get too long in the Laser UFO, but try it out while you can- it's fun!
Once you're up there, the rest of the round is pretty trivial. There's a new hazard in the form of balloon shutters, where you need to pop the balloon to open the path (but some block out enemy Penguins, so pick carefully, and watch out- at certain angles, Penguins can throw stones through walls!). Once you're at the bottom, you've got a fairly open area with only Germs and a Winged Cat to worry about. You can either go straight to the cage and end the round and go ahead, or...
If you still have a Duck, fly over the box by the cage (you can just barely fit) and find the Warp!
It'll take you to this empty stage, and going to the end will take you midway through Round 2-3...
But there's a Warp within this Warp area, again! Find it and you'll go here.
Hey, 'sup Ptolemy! Kill all the enemies here and a Warp appear to take you all the way to Round 3-4!
If you're joining us from Round 1-1, you get an E, X and T for your trouble. Shoot ahead for a warp back to 1-4.
However, this warp warrants a bit more explanation, as it can be exploited due to a bit of an oversight on Taito's part. The intent was to not allow the player to reach the Warp from beyond the Round 1-1 Warp, as you can't get inside the box from outside, and you can't normally make the Warp appear with your Arrows. However, if you have a Laser and a Duck, you can go shoot through the wall and spawn the Warp, or if you just have a Fire Cane, you can stand under the box and fire repeatedly to spawn the Warp. However you do it, you can then jump from below and hit the Warp, taking you back to Round 1-4. From there, you can go back to fight the Frozen Whale, go back to 2-1, and essentially loop the game forever. There's also a few spots- underneath Round 1-4, the first area of 2-1 with Mr. Wakelin, and before the cage in 2-1 with the Germs- where you can farm enemies to make sure the item cycle is right to give you the weapon you need to make the Warp appear. It's difficult to do, but if you really want, you can loop the game forever!
As such, 2-1 was modified in later revisions (here's the map) to make it impossible to reach the Warp after revealing it.
(This fix also adds a Pumpko spawn to the Winged Cat and Germs in this area for some reason).
... Oh, and greetings from Round 1-3! An N and D await you in this alcove. Jump out and you'll end up near the cage.
(If you're really daring, you can flap to the gap above the box above the cage and get the Warp to 2-3 or 3-4 from here!)
Oh, this is nice, you start this round already in a vehicle! This is one of your freebie Hot Air Balloons, and if you ever start in a vehicle- either starting a round in one or respawning in one- this is what you get. It does the job well-enough, but even more enemies get introduced for the first time here. First up, in the opening area, is the Fire Lizard, who plops themself onto a balloon and shoots fireballs at you (it'll roast poor Tiki!). The balloons are pretty interesting- you can either sit on top of them like normal, or grab them from below and hang off them instead. You can do the same with the vehicle of the other new enemy, Cool Bob, who basically behaves like normal Bob but fires larger projectiles. His balloons can also take five hits before exploding, so they're very handy to have for trickier spike segments. Finally, the Axe Cat appears here in a place where you can actually steal their ride, the Metal Balloon, which is a key vehicle- it's very slow and big, but also practically invincible. Finally, the Axe Cat itself can catch you unaware with their arcing axe-throws, but unlike Penguins they can't aim at you, so attacking them from below is the way to go. Oh, and there's also a 'fake' E balloon that, if you bump into it, will spawn a gaggle of enemies. Don't do that. It's an obvious trap.
Aside from all these new enemies appearing, this is actually a bit of a break compared to the rounds you've been doing up to this point. It's fairly straightforward, although there's a few odd points here and there. After the initial mazey section, the open area in the bottom-right has a Mr. Wakelin lurking at the bottom, and the spike on the roof as you go upwards means you're forced to abandon your vehicle to get past. The other notable part here is the large body of water you've got to get past, the largest you've encountered so far. It's tempting to duck down and grab the T, but you'll have to go up and around to get it- try to approach it from the left, and you'll get eaten by the Sea Claw (another new enemy, technically! Unless you saw it in Round 1-4's secret area) as it only activates its maw when you're close to it. A horrid fate indeed. The cage is at the end of this section, so you've got a pretty easy time of it, all things considered. See, this is why we fly over these rounds via the warp.
This is a bit more like it, we've got a genuine maze on our hands! The general path through the level is fairly rote until the maze, with the main theme being forcing you to dump your vehicle whenever you move between areas. There's a low spike ceiling between the first open area and the maze of platforms upwards, for instance, forcing you to jump from tiny block to tiny block while dodging Winged Cats and Grim Bats (unless you take a Duck, which can just about fit underneath). Once you reach the pool of water at the top of the round, you need to wait for a few Penguins to spawn- aim your water shot well and steal the Duck, then enter the spike maze! All sorts of enemies will be in the maze to make things difficult for you, but at least the game helpfully signposts the way- if you reach a dead end, there's s STOP sign to let you know. You're aiming for the bottom-right corner, just don't hit those spikes, it'll be difficult to recover from it. The final segment isn't too bad, but you'll want to avoid that bundle of fruit- the Sea Claw will get you if you're greedy!
There is a Warp here, hiding in a precarious spot above a spike pit, but it's not very helpful.
It'll take you to the Warp Round for a few EXTEND letters, then dump you in the bottom of the spike maze in 2-3. Harrumph!
This round is actually a lot shorter than it looks, with the entire bottom-left portion of the stage being completely optional and actually much, much longer than the other route. Doesn't mean it's going to be easy though, you start in the middle of a twisty path of cannons on both the walls and the floors (and hello there, people warping in from Round 1-4, don't think you're getting off easy here- you start in the section just below the start, so while you skip some of this bit, it's not the whole lot).The rate at which the cannons fire seems to be randomised, but good timing will see you through, just be especially careful the second time the path goes down, as while you may be clear from the top, the cannon at the side may not be in line and may catch you off-guard! Also, the final vertical climb can sometimes be tricky if the cannons are firing quickly, so be ready to get your jumps queued up to get out as fast as possible.
(As for that boxed-off Warp, we'll see that ~much~ later in the game.)
Luckily, that's the last we'll be seeing of cannons for a while, and the rest of the round isn't bad at all, if you know which route to take. Pop the Star Balloon for a bit of covering fire as you make your way to the water, but be careful if you go for the pile of watermelons, as a Germ will spawn just as you reach the last one- turn tail and run! In the water, you have a choice of left, right or down. Left, the third picture above, is a bit of a rigmarole involving a spike maze, down takes longer, needs you to evade a Sea Claw, and has some heart-pounding jumps over spike pits. Go right instead! It's much quicker and the jumps aren't nearly as taxing. Once you reach the ground, watch out for Frankies and Flames that spawn, and either head left into the boss's lair...
Or head right into the spike pit room, and uncover a Warp to...
Oh, 'sup, Puka-Puka! You recognise this ghoul from Kiki Kaikai, right?
Destroy all the enemies here, grabbing some EXTEND letters as you do, and you'll get a Warp to midway through Round 3-1.
Last time, we had to deal with a Frozen Whale. This time...
It's a Stone Octopus.
It's not quite as complicated as the first boss, but the Stone Octopus can give you some trouble if you're not careful. Once it pulls itself together, it'll move up and down, periodically spitting ink from its snout that quickly turns into a cloud of bats that lazily home in on you. By that, I mean they will always move forward and try to adjust to your vertical position but only once, so it won't try to correct direction if you move. You can shoot the bats, but there's a whole cloud of them, and if you're bad with your aim, they'll get you. Complicating things is the weak spot- you can only hit it in the snout, precisely where the ink shots come from. This isn't a problem if you've got a Laser, mind, as it'll blast through all the bats. Keep your vertical position fairly close to the Stone Octopus to get the shots on the snout and also make a quick escape when it fires its bats, and sooner or later...
You, too, can blow up a Stone Octopus with just a bow and arrow, if you believe.
Goodbye, Rotorua! Time for the next place on our itinerary.
Tiki's continues his adventure in the Waitomo Caves.