So, just got this (like 2 days ago), and whilst I suck at cave I can make it to the final boss (but clearly not via the extra stage, and only by wussing out at the first levels and playing level 1 and 2 as much as I can - I tried the extra stage once after completing all the first three stages on level 3 (!!), and the suicide bullets raped me).
The order you do the stages seems to make some difference to the special items released – the scrapped car in stage B-2 doesn’t release an item if you do it first (i.e. before A-2 or C-2), regardless of whether or not you undertake it at level/ranking 3. Same seems to be the case with the life up on stage C-2. I might experiment and find out if there is a better pattern to it.
Anyway. I thought I'd add some content.
1) You can only choose ranking level 1 and level 2 once each for each part-1 and part-2 stage. Thus you cannot do both B-1 and C-1 (for instance) on level 1.
You may choose level 3 as many times as you like - stages definitely get harder as you progress through the game, and this is unconnected with playing successive stages at level 3 (for instance: on C-2, level 3, Bavaria will have an extra pattern if you play it as your *third* stage as opposed to the previous two. Stage 4 and 5 only have suicide bullets only if you have clocked up your 5th Level 3 stage.
2) Bosses on Level 3 have an extra phase above and beyond levels 1 and 2 (e.g. Jordan turns into a skull). They also score more points (500,000 for the final phase instead of 100,000 for level 1 and 200,000 for level 2). Intermediate phases are worth 50,000 in all cases on all levels.
Beating Jitterbug normally gets you 500,000 points, but you’ll get 1,000,000 for the first phase and 2,000,000 for the second if you did the extra stage (these points values are from Cave’s website - http://www.cave.co.jp/gameonline/deaths ... _teki.html
2) The general rule with flying/ground enemies is that flying enemies should be killed with shot, except for: mermen, dragons, floating islands, large boulders (others I’ve forgotten?):
3) Names of bosses (might be some errors in A1 and A2’s kanji, and I can't read the kanji at the end of B-1's):
A-1: 徨折える死神 デスサイズ – Deathscythe
(死神 = Shigami – God of death)
A-2: 俚めらねだ男爵 ジョルダン – Jordan
(男爵 = Danshaku - Baron)
B-1: 森の幻?? ウローン – Whroon
(森の幻?? = Mori no Maboroshi ?? – Forest of illusion something-or-other)
B-2: 沼の魔女 サキュラ – Sakura
( 沼の魔女= Mema no Majo - Marsh Witch)
C-1: 巨大牛 メリー - Mary
(巨大牛 = Kyodai Gyuu – Enormous cow)
C-2: 炎の神 バヴァリア – Bavaria
(炎の神 = Homura no Kami – Flame god)
Extra mid-boss: ビーストドッグ(親分) ( ビーストドッグ(親分) = Biisutodoggu (Oyabun) – Beast dog boss)
Extra: 双子の竜王 デヴァリア。ギヴァリア – Devaria . Givaria
(双子の竜王 = Futago no Ryuuou – Twin Dragon Kings)
Final boss: 扉を開く者 ジルバ – Jitterbug
(扉を開く者= Tobira o Okusha – Gate opener)
Final (True boss): 魔界帝王 テイラノサタン - Tyrannosatan
(魔界帝王 = Makai Teiou - Hell Emperor)