Area 4 - Armed Port
Gaming Hell's Par Time - 1:40
The opening section here actually isn't too bad- in particular, you'll get a ton of upgrades early on (a Gun icon first, then a Spanner and First-Aid Kit, two Speed icons and a Hammer on the far-right near the end) and most of them are on the beaten path, so you won't miss them. The enemies are pretty standard stuff too, mostly normal cars and moving trucks (be sure to destroy them as you can't slip past them like at the start of the last area) and the only real threat is the water surronunding the port. Honestly, just run through here grabbing as many upgrades as possible and you should be fine!
Ah. This is where the gloves come off. The next area is a barricade of giant trucks, equipped with three giant cannons each. We actually saw these guys back in Peace Village, but there was only one of them there, this is a full area of the bastards! Like the smaller trucks, they'll move left and right to track your movements, and they'll also do huge damage if you get caught by them, or clip them, or go anywhere near them. You can technically destroy them, but it's usually not worth the effort, because they've got triple-shot cannons on their side that make it harder to park up and blast them (not that you'll want to as other cars in the area are going to hassle you). On the plus side, there's a First-Aid Kit early on (to the left) so if you come up a cropper against one of them early, you can still salvage your run. The main piece of advice here is to rush past them- lead them one way, then swerve round and dash past them in the other direction- but try and stay in the middle of the area. Go too far to the left or right, and you'll end up with nowhere to go as the giant trucks will hem you in against the wall. All I can say is good luck.
... And it just gets worse. This next section is one of the most frustrating in the game, a mini-gauntlet of big cannons on rails (one touch and you're dead) and rails of explosives crossing by (again, one touch is death). If you've died already in this stage, you're going to really have a hard time here, because you'll need a bit of speed in the old engine to really get past these things easily. Additionally, there's a few path-splits here, and if you go right, you're probably not going to make it as most of the sections on that route are too cramped- tiny areas with a rail-mounted cannons that you just won't be able to get past. Always go to the left instead, where there's generally more room to breathe, but this still isn't easy- expect to die quite a bit here. Just stick with it and try to out-manoeuvre the cannons. Even better, straight afterwards there's another section of giant trucks! Aggh! It's much the same as last time, so swerve and hope for the best.
Area 5 - Develop Zone
Gaming Hell's Par Time - 1:50
Weirdly, despite introducing several new enemies and hazards, Develop Zone is actually kind-of easy... Once you know what you're doing. To start, this area introduces the final evolution of the moving trucks, the spike trucks. They're considerably slower to track you and can't fire bullets, but as you can probably guess, touching them is instant death, and you can't hurt them at all. You can sit in front of them to pummel them with shots if you like, but it's not gonna do anything. The first area is full of these guys, plus cannon turrets and bombs on rails, but while the spike trucks are intimidating, this area's actually not so bad. The spike trucks are slow and often in positions where you can more easily sneak past them, and while the turrets are as annoying as ever, you can still give them the slip. One important tip though is to go right at the start- the left path has a Speed icon, which is nice, but the right has a Hammer, which is going to be a lot more useful in the long run. After taking the right path, be sure to look to the left further on for some more items, including a Gun and Spanner pair and a Speed icon hiding in an alcove.
Both paths lead to a wide open area- at the start, head left and up for an awkwardly-placed First-Aid Kit- that's mostly more spike trucks that, again, you can actually sneak past. Just make sure enemy cars (including the buggies, back from Area 2) don't nudge you into a spike truck's path! Afterwards, the open area gives way to one hemmed in by water (as soon as the water appears, look around the left side to find a First-Aid Kit) and yet another new enemy appears, the spread-shot machine. These things are everywhere and slowly move around once you wake them up, and while their shots are very weak, they're yet another one-hit kill enemy. There's a bit of luck involved here as it's very possible for other cars to slam you into the spread-shot things, but just be careful, stay away from the left side (there's water over there) and do not engage the machines in groups- try and find another way around. At the very end of this area, you'll encounter those conveyor belts with bombs again, and while there's only a few conveyors this time, they're a lot longer and there's far more bombs on them. If you're going to die anywhere on this stage (aside from trying to grab the awkward First-Aid Kit from earlier) it's gonna be here. All you can do is approach it as you did in Area 4- be careful!
Its OK though, the last section is fairly short, a series of train tracks with big mounted cannons on them. If you've died already at this point, head left once the tracks appear to find a Hammer icon (you'll need it) and get ready for some swerving. The mounted cannons are indestructible (gosh), kill you in one touch (what a surprise) and are probably the fastest turret-type enemies in the game. Luckily, if you've grabbed the Hammer, their shots don't hurt too much, you just have to navigate past them safely! There's a couple of dead-ends too where you'll have to double-back and find another way, but this is a fairly sort area and the stage is over pretty soon, so keep at it.
Area 6 - Zap Town
Gaming Hell's Par Time - 3:00
Welcome to Hell, Car Battler Joe. Zap Town is the final area and they really don't want you getting anywhere near the boss-man, as the enemy pulls out all the stops to end your little roadtrip once and for all. Even in its opening section, Zap Town is no joke, as it begins with a series of winding streets littered with trucks, tiny turrets, cannons on rails, bomb rails, and snipers in almost every window. Your poor little jalopy is going to get more than a few dents in it, but while there's almost enough items to get yourself fully powered-up, they're all hiding down different sidestreets and you can't quite visit all of them. So, to get the most out of it, go right first and grab the Gun at the bottom of the screen, then go back left to find a Speed icon, keep going up for a Hammer, then turn right and head down for a Spanner, head up past the truck then right and up for a First-Aid Kit and a Speed icon later on, then once you reach a clearing, head all the way back left for a second Gun icon. Phew! All this time, try not to get killed- a tall order I know, but do your best.
You'll know you're done when you reach the fountain above, which also has Spanner, Speed and First-Aid Kit items waiting for you. Take a little breather and admire the statue while you can, then head forward for the next area, a rail section with multiple routes, divided by cargo crates. Generally each split has either a cannon turret, bombs in carts or explosive boxes, and generally you want to take the route with the bombs a la carte, as they only take one shot to destroy and they're much less of an annoyance. There's about four of these, so you shouldn't be too long here, just watch out as between the second and third set, there's a row of mini-turrets (usually, anyway- on occasion I've seen them not appear/spawn incorrectly)- don't plough into them, as they'll rip through your health meter!
There's not much to be said about the next area, as it's a fairly linear path, just tough, a twisty-turny set of streets beset by water and missile launchers on all sides. The best advice to start with is to grab the First-Aid Kit near the start (it's to the left) because I'm sure you'll be needing it at this point, and just go. Leg it. You should be able to avoid the missile launchers just by going as fast as possible, but always avoiding getting directly in their line of fire- they can only aim in so many directions, if that helps- so move past them, don't crash into them (they do a lot of damage) and watch out for the water, as just lightly grazing it is death. Afterwards, there's another section with rails like before, but this time you won't be able to avoid the cannon turrets. Luckily there's a small indentation in the walls on the left side that you can use to make getting past them easier, but swerve and dodge, Not At All Super Joe, swerve and dodge. You'll know you're near the end when you see, for the last time, two of those super-rigs we had to deal with in Armed Port. The final battle is just ahead!
... Ah. This is new. Zapper has decked himself out in a robot suit and invites you to his Battle Thunderdome.
Now, as a game that's been pretty much all about moving fast, scrolling the screen and swerving like it's Crazy Taxi, an enclosed arena battle is probably the last thing it needs. With no way to reverse beyond swerving around, and remembering the space and speed the Speed Rumbler needs to pull that off, you might be thinking this battle- wherein Zapper is going to move about and pelt you in the face with bullets, everywhere- is going to be incredibly frustrating. You are almost right! If you try and actually move about during this fight, you are going to die. Probably. What you really need to do is park up around the middle of the screen, pelt Zapper with bullets when he steps from the doors, then turn to face whichever direction he moves in and continue to fire. Even if you've got zero shot upgrades, you should take him out before he starts to move down the screen if your shooting's fast enough. Seriously, that's it. You're far more likely to die if you're moving around like a man on fire, trust me.
Once the tyrant Zapper explodes, we're done here. We've rumbled 'em all!
The Road? Avenged. The Speed? Rumbled. Let's go home.