Stage: With the introduction of the second fortress stages comes a change which deserves some mention. Weapon energy is no longer refilled between stages while in the fortress. However, you can still save between stages and loading a save or continuing after running out of lives still restores energy to full so this change is a minor one unless you are trying to speedrun the game or otherwise want to reach the end without saving or continuing. As for the stage itself, this is definitely the ‘spike stage’ of the game. It immediately opens with a drop down a multi-screen spike shaft and has more of these along the way with plenty of spikes to slide under and jump over in general. Yet, the true defining feature of this stage is the targeting reticle which will chase Mega Man through most of the rooms. It will freeze for a split second if it overlaps with Mega Man and then fire an explosive shot which is about twice the size of the target itself and will damage Mega Man if he’s not well out of range. Shielded enemies and Suzies are both common in this stage because they are intended to block the way while forcing you to deal with both them and the reticle. Damage can escalate quickly if you stay still for too long, so it’s best to take them out with hard-hitting weapons like Trash Attach and Giant Axe while saving the Zap Barrier for spikes. The magnet enemies from Zap Man’s stage also appear in a few places while jumping over spike pits and Magic Missile is the best way to take care of them without slowing down. This is one of the hardest stages in the game, so don’t be afraid to stock up on supplies and use whatever you have.
Boss: The ‘Unrelenting Fighting Obliterator’ (UFO) is a giant purple robot which resembles a UFO, just like the name says. The targeting reticle is here for the whole fight and it gets in the way just as much as before so Zap Barrier can be useful here if getting hit seems inevitable. The UFO itself moves in a circle and can only be hit in the face, which is high enough that Mega Man must jump up a series of single-block platforms to reach it. It sends out a rolling green mine along the ground which can be destroyed, though Mega Man will get caught in the explosion if he’s near it; mines in this fight aren’t dangerous on their own, but they can get in the way if they’re not dealt with quickly. It also is able to charge up a giant laser which it shoots out of its mouth and this attack won’t hit Mega Man if he’s on the ground, but it does hit the platforms which Mega Man needs to stand on in order to land hits with the buster. The final attack comes in the form of two ways of three purple sparks. The waves are not completely aligned with each other so this attack is the hardest one to dodge and it can be particularly hard to avoid this and the target simultaneously. This boss’s health drops quickly, but it can also take out large chunks of Mega Man’s health and having an E-Tank available is not a bad idea.