Here we see a return of the floating platforms from the second visit to Shadow Man's stage, except this time they act only as a minor annoyance on the way to a few more items. There's a split in the path with one way leading to an extra life, but unlike previous examples of this setup, there's nothing dangerous on the way that might discourage a player form just grabbing everything. I do appreciate being able to slide over to the main path though.
One might think that they're just giving the player a little practice for a much more difficult section coming up, but unfortunately this is the last we'll see of those platforms.
Now this is the sort of thing I expect from a Wily stage. The bees and Wanaans are back, this time with deadly gaps in the floor. These bees can be scrolled off the screen like the rest, but allowing the nest to drop here leaves us with little safe footing to fight from. Taking them out with the Shadow Blade is a safer option.
Here's a neat little trap. The player is offered a refill in front of a large gap, implying that Rush Jet should be used here. However, one last bee flies in when the player is a few steps away from the gap, likely catching them off-guard.
This section seems to be built around the players' ability to conserve energy when not in contact with Rush, except that it's so short and completely stuffed with items that there's no need to pay attention to energy use.
Four large energy refills, two E-Tanks, and three small health refills over roughly three screens with no enemies.
Yellow Devil is back, and he pulls the same trick as last time, making you think the room is empty for a moment before forming up on the right side of the screen. This version seems to have been toned down a great deal. He's slower, his eye stays put and is a bigger target, his shots are slower, and he can be hit multiple times before he moves again.
However, this one fires three shots between moves and comes with a new trick, turning himself into a group of bouncing pieces that reform quickly. These are hard to get under, as the entire area he's going to occupy activates after a moment, harming players before any of the parts even get there. On the other hand, he has a longer period of vulnerability after this move, giving players a chance to hit him hard in return. Yellow Devil takes five damage from Hard Knuckle and three from Shadow Blade. It's easier to stick with Hard Knuckle, but Shadow Blade can deal one more point of damage if you squeeze two hits in.
The quickest option is to just use Rush Jet to avoid his attacks, then hover right in from of him and pump as much damage as you can into the eye. How much damage you deal depends entirely on how fast you can fire, but generally this should only take three cycles.
This is a weird one, as 1/3 of the stage takes a situation we've seen before and makes it harder, which is just what one would expect from the final stretch of levels in a game, but the rest is just handing us items left and right. The small size and lack of difficulty in most of the stage is forgivable given what we have to fight, but it should at least put forth a token effort throughout, and there's a ton of mostly harmless enemies that could fill the space.
Despite the hitbox issue, this version of the Yellow Devil is a somewhat easier fight, yet more complex while giving us multiple options for defeating him, so I'd call that a success overall.
Unfortunately, the computer-chip-building-block style is back for the stage graphics, which looks just as lazy next to the rest of the game's graphics as it did in the previous game.