The Flying Battleship Balrog (空中戦艦バルログ, also known as the Aerial Battleship Ballog) is the third stage in the original Arcade game and all console ports, and the fourth one in home computer ports. The stage's official name is Destruction of the Battleship Balrog (戦艦バルログ撃破) in Japanese, and The Aerial Battleship in English. The intro text shown at the beginning of the stage uses Hebrew letters to spell out phonetically "Barlog"(sic) (געלראב) when read from left to right.
The Battleship Balrog is Grandmaster Meio's greatest ace, a giant ship built to soar the skies through the use of gravity control provided by an installed Anti-Gravity Device. Named after an ancient demon, the airship is a massive aircraft carrier with an overall length of 196 mts bow-to-stern, boasting both an overwhelming appearance and incredible power. The airship carries a fleet of Flying Tortoises, Fighter aircrafts and defense machines in its interior, and a crew of armored marine corps led by Captain Beard Jr., a former Earth Allied forces commander now working for the Grandmaster.
The Balrog was an unstoppable force during Grandmaster Meio's quest for world domination, leaving behind numerous cities in scorched ruins and thousands of human casualties. A truly impregnable steel fortress flying several feet above ground, the Balrog's only weak point is its core, whose destruction is powerful enough to bring down the whole warship along with it.
Hiryu discovers the battleship's existence from the defeated Tong Pooh, who boast that, as long as it exists, the Grandmaster's rule is unchallenged. Hiryu takes it upon himself to bring the warship down, by infiltrating it and uncovering its secret. Reaching the Balrog's deck, Hiryu proceeds to fight against its crew and defenses, tearing his way through the ship. He eventually reaches the gravity corridors and the core of the Balrog, the Anti-Gravity Device. Destroying it, the entire ship starts self-destructing, so Hiryu makes his escape towards the Balrog's docks, reaching them in time to board Beard's escape airship. Taking out the cowardly captain, Hiryu leaves the Balrog behind as it is destroyed.
The Balrog is well known for its overwhelming power thanks to the large amount of artillery installed over its surface. Its primary weapon is the set of 6 Giant Main Guns installed at the front and back of its structure, powerful two or three-barreled massive cannons. Each Main Gun is backed up by three two-barreled machine gun seats installed below them, for a total of 12 machine gun seats on top, plus 4 more in its underbelly. Finally, the Balrog possess a total of 24 Vulcan machine gun seats located at both sides of the front hull.
The Balrog's mean of flying is achieved through its Anti-Gravity Device, a computer system created to control gravity. The device is installed within an "Anti-Gravity Engine Drum", a spherical chamber embedded in the Balrog's hull, and flying is achieved through a "Magnetic Field Generation Antenna" found in the middle of the ship's bottom. Due to the influence of the strong gravitational forces, gravity abnormalities are produced in rooms and halls close to it, taking the form of a "reverse gravity" effect. The Anti-Gravity Device is the heart of the Balrog and doubles as its weakest point, since destroying it causes a chain reaction which brings the entire airship down.
The Balrog counts with two Fighter ejection ports and an escape pod provided with 2 aircrafts, as well as a the "Executive Brand Catapult" for Captain Beard Jr.'s personal use. It doesn't appear to hold enough escape means for all crew on board, as evidenced by the marines trying to desperately board Beard Jr.'s Flying Tortoise as the Balrog collapses.
Note: Area names are not official
Hiryu's entry point, the Balrog's front deck is heavily armed by several turrets and Marine Corps. As Hiryu proceeds ahead, he's swarmed by the Hit Mouse enemies, small floating turrets. The path goes slightly upwards as it approaches the Balrog's center, and it finally ends in front of the Giant Main Gun, a large cannon dubbed "The Eliminator" in English. Slashing its structure opens up Hiryu's way inside the battleship.
The Balrog's chamber Hiryu enters through is the gun deck, where the ship's cannons are reloaded, as one can observe several cannon shafts in the walls and stacks of ammunition can be seen around as well as being transported by moving conveyor belts. Hiryu must use the platforms in these conveyor belts to move around the large chamber, avoiding the marines, lasers and other enemies in his path.
In the upper leftmost side of the stage lies the secret "Panda" item behind a stack of ammunition. There's also an alternative path down a hole midway through the room, which leads onto a platform hanging from the Balrog's hull, containing a "Hiryu" full-life item. This path leads right into the second half of the room. Reaching the upper part, Hiryu enters a storage chamber where he faces a few Frog robots and a moving wall. The path leads into an ascending shaft, a Fighter ejection port, where the walls quickly close in. The shaft ends into the Balrog's stern (back area).
Heli-pad & Gravity Hall
As soon as Hiryu arrives, a Mr. Elephant robot is carried in by a Flying Tortoise airship and attacks. After dealing with it, Hiryu reaches the other end of the ship, where there are several catapults that can capture and throw him to his demise. Following the path down, there's the entrance to the Gravity Hall. The hall is a long corridor where the gravity is affected, forcing Hiryu to walk on the ceiling at certain intervals. The area is crowded with enemies, including marines, Hit Mouse, drill-spears and floating mines. Going through it, one reaches a descending path into the Anti-Gravity Device's chamber.
The Anti-Gravity Device chamber is an oval area where Hiryu finds and destroys the Balrog's core, sending the whole ship into self-destruction. Through an opening in the base of the chamber, Hiryu escapes into the outside of the ship's tail, climbing his way as he outruns the flames behind him. Finally, he reaches the escape port, where several soldiers attempt to flee the sinking ship, and Captain Beard Jr. whips them away from his Flying Tortoise ship. Hiryu easily jumps into his ship and eliminates Beard, successfully escaping the Balrog.
Enemies present in this stage include:
- Balrog Marine Corps
- Flying Mosqueman
- Hit Mouse
- Giant Main Gun
- Laser Battery
- Mr. Elephant
- Floating Mine
- Boss: Anti-Gravity Device
- Boss: Captain Beard Jr.
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- Sega (September 1990, Mega Drive). Strider (English). Instruction manual, Pg. 14