We've got two options, and both of them hurt. Frisk Cannon will hit us if we climb straight up either ladder, and with no simple way to dodge them, we almost need to be using special weapons here. Annoyingly, we have to use Rush Coil for this ladder if we haven't found alternate modes of transport.
This area is a breeze with the Super Adapter, but we're faced with another jump that will be annoying without it. Ignoring the Sniper Joes we've already fought too many of, we see the return of Cloud Man's semi-invisible platforms. Getting dropped right in front of a Met is a nasty start to the area.
The only thing this stage does with the idea is give us a platform we can barely see from the edge of the previous one. The last jump is another long one, this time with a Met right next to where we need to land. Rush Coil allows us to clear both.
We have a tiny window to kill Tripropellan with a normal charged shot before it shoots us off the ladder. We can avoid its shots by staying low on the ladder, which gives us time to aim some Freeze Cracker shards at it using the central platform. The Gabyoall here seems to exist purely as an obstacle to Super Adapter users, making this alternate route more dangerous if we fly across.
The Rush Coil requirement is just getting mean at this point. There's no reason to make players use it here except as a punishment for not finding the Super Adapter. Not only do we need him to reach the ladder, we have a large spike pit to cross as well. At least we can get a satisfying kill on both these enemies with a Scorch Wheel.
Small gaps, easy enemies. Nothing new to see here, as the conveyor belts don't add much to the difficulty.
These timed platforms move forward until the counter runs out, then explode. The area is forgiving for this sort of thing, with multiple chances to catch another platform if we make a mistake. Staying on the top platforms takes us to the upper portion of a split path.
You do have the Super Adapter or Rush Jet, right? With another long spike pit and two vanishing blocks that appear overhead, the stage is just rubbing it in the player's face now.
Surviving this is hard enough, but we also get only one chance to take the upper route to the reward, otherwise we went through the danger on this path for nothing. Then we fight a dinosaur, because why not?
The lower path is no safer, starting with the classic spike fall. Unlike previous games, we're not getting the advantage of stopping between screens to see what's next, so the distance you see from Mega Man to the bottom of the screen here is all the warning we get during the fall.
While it's a mostly straight drop, the two areas with spikes sticking out that we're likely to land on are very confined, making this harder than it needed to be. The extra life at the bottom is a small consolation.
Swim Metall's habit of firing after a jump allows it to hit us in the tiny gap between Proto Man's Shield and the top of Mega Man's head, which may be the only situation where players might take a hit from that weakness. We have the usual long underwater jump with spikes on both sides, and then meet Kanegance again. This time we have Danger Wrap during the fight, which can take it down in a couple seconds by dropping bombs in front of it.
Look at that. This place reuses the idea of floating slowly upward while dodging things, but this time they're spikes, and someone thought it'd be funny to stick a death trap in here. Keep in mind that this is higher than we can see, so we won't know it's an enclosed spike box until we're dying in it.
The Gabyoall at the end simply moves off screen and despawns, doing a poor job of defending the E Tank behind it.
HannyaNED² is a tough boss, and can be frustrating when paired with this stage. It has a fun pattern though, starting with a barrage of missiles that we can use as platforms to reach its eyes. It then switches to a laser that moves toward our side of the screen twice, with the distance changing as it hovers up and down. Finally, it charges forward, launches two bombs, and repeats.
We can avoid the laser by staying all the way on the right side, and the bombs are easy to walk between, so the only difficulty after a little practice is in finding opportunities to jump and hit it while it's low to the ground, and dealing with the changing heights of the missiles. This can take a while with normal shots, and it occasionally blinks to cover the eyes and waste some of your hits.
Our best weapon options are Noise Crush for two damage and a wider shot to hit with, Slash Claw for a more bold approach to deal three damage, and Junk Shield to protect ourselves from missiles and deal two damage if we get close. We can also hit it for four by bringing a charged Noise Crush into the fight, which we only have one chance at since there are no walls.
This is one of the nastier stages we've run across, and not in a good way. The vanishing blocks and underwater spikes both causes deaths for not being able to anticipate something a player can't see, and the constant need for Rush Coil in the first half is a bad way to make Rush Jet and the Super Adapter useful, punishing us for not having them instead of offering rewards for using them.
The standard enemies here have already been put to better use by now, as was the invisible ground. The timed moving platforms were this stages best contribution, with a fair introduction and rewards for using them well, done within a few screens. At least HannyaNED² is my favorite of the Wily bosses so far.