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Embryo's intro screen.
Icon Index Name Setting Par time Time bonus (per second) Notes
Embryo.png 1-5 Embryo Production Overlord 2:00 (120s) 2000 Boss of Zone 1.

"Filthy rat!"

Embryo is the boss of Zone 1. His attacks mainly revolve around bullet patterns and aerial rockets.

For the much harder version seen only in Daily Drive and Infinity Drive, see Dark Embryo.


The Section Lord of the loading bays, Embryo is responsible for cargo loading when docked and maintaining onboard fabrication facilities while in transit by commanding a small army of robots.

Intimidating, uncouth and often a bully, Embryo achieves excellent results but at the expense of his subordinates' mental health.

-In-game Codex entry for Embryo


Embryo is a relatively straightforward boss. His main purpose is to teach you the value of maximizing DPS, getting the most out of your secondary, and to give you an easy introduction to dodging bullet patterns.

The boss consists of 6 separate phases of 600 HP each. Defeating a phase will immediately destroy all of his projectiles in flight, he will then lift off the ground and relocate for the next phase. He can't be damaged while relocating unless hit with a Shutdown, which will cause him to fall to the ground and be vulnerable for the standard 2.25 second duration.

If you stand too close, he will jump into the air and slam down with a melee attack, like a Buster Titan. This attack is an instant knockdown if it connects. This attack can be Weapon Swapped through on reaction if you stray too close, but try to never trigger it in the first place since it wastes time.

Phase Health Base Score value Maximum quick kill bonus Base score with maximum quick kill bonus
Any 600 12500 1.5x 18750

For Phase 1 you start losing quick kill bonus after 5s, and hit 0% at 10s. For the rest you get 4.5 more seconds due to the 4.5 second relocate animation (ie. 9.5 to 14.5 seconds).

Ideal total score, not counting end-of-level time bonus:

Phase Ideal total score Notes
1 12500*1*1.5 + 1000*1 = 19,750 Maximum quick kill bonus + Battery
2 12500*1*1.5 + 1000*1 = 19,750 Maximum quick kill bonus + Battery
3 12500*2*1.5 + 1000*2 = 39,500 2x multiplier + maximum quick kill bonus + Battery
4 12500*3*1.5 + 1000*3 = 59,250 3x multiplier + maximum quick kill bonus + Battery
5 12500*4*1.5 + 1000*4 = 79,000 4x multiplier + maximum quick kill bonus + Battery
6 12500*5*1.5 = 98,750 5x multiplier + maximum quick kill bonus. No Battery to collect after final phase.
Total 311,000
With time bonus 311,000 + 127600 = 438,600 The fastest clear time with known strats is 40.25 seconds.


Phase 1: slow chase[edit]

Phase 1.

"There is no escape."

The easiest phase. Embryo will chase you slowly and fire forwards from both of his arms.

Simply stay in his face. As long as you stay far away enough to not be melee'd, and close enough to not be hit by the bullets, you will be fine. Note that if you're close enough, it is safe to circle around him since he will always try to face you, keeping you in the safe spot between his two guns. Using this method to navigate behind him will allow you to pick up the weapon energy and end the phase quicker.

He drops a Powerup after this phase.

Phase 2: static with bullet pattern[edit]

Phase 2. Left-to-right then top-to-bottom: simple 6-way spiral, short clockwise 3-way spiral, short counter-clockwise 3-way spiral, long reversing 6-way spiral.

"Time to die!"

Embryo will move to the centre of the map and produce a sequence of bullet patterns.

  1. Simple long 6-way spiral
  2. Short 3-way spiral (one clockwise, one counter-clockwise)
  3. Long 6-way spiral that changes direction halfway through
  4. Back to 2 and repeat

It's worth noting that the patterns don't have perfect rotational symmetry. The simple and long spirals have one "leg" that is fatter than the others, and the spacing is inconsistent between the nodes in each "fat" spiral.

Try to maintain medium distance to have enough time to react, move in close between patterns to use secondary weapons. Use your weapon switch to dodge if you are going to get clipped by the pattern.

With some Androids you can simply stand right in front of him and DPS him down, with no regard for dodging.

Phase 3: rocket salvos[edit]

Phase 3.

"Hold still, filthy rat."

Embryo will move away from the player and launch lots of aerial Rockets. Each rocket fired will be indicated by a red crosshair on the ground which gets smaller as the rocket nears the floor. A single rocket is easily capable of knocking you down and the explosion lasts about a second before being safe to move there again.

This phase is easy if you simply slowly circle him, the Rockets can't track you in a circle. The purpose of this phase is just to get you familiar with how the Rockets work.

He drops a Powerup after this phase.

Phase 4: fast chase[edit]

Phase 4.

"It's time to get serious..."

Faster version of Phase 1. Embryo will chase you more quickly and aggressively. He will also backpedal, at which point you should chase him.

Make sure to only make use of static weapons like Propeller Mines or Plasma Shield while he is on the offensive, or they will barely hit him.

This phase is easy for Aubergine since you can freeze him in place with a Singularity if he outpaces you.

Phase 5: moving bullet pattern[edit]

Phase 5. Top: short quintuple spiral. Bottom: rings with gaps.

"This can't be happening!"

More difficult version of Phase 2. This time, Embryo moves around the arena at the same time while producing his patterns.

  1. Short 5-way spiral x3 (clockwise, counter clockwise, then clockwise again)
  2. Radiating rings with gaps x8
  3. Repeat

The rings are difficult to dodge at close range. Therefore, get in your close-ranged damage as soon as you can, then back up a bit to dodge the rings. Most characters should have sufficient damage output to end the phase before the rings even begin.

There is a small triangle you can stand in very close which allows you to avoid the first three patterns. Just charge the first gap, stick as close as possible, and you should be good.

He drops a Powerup after this phase.

Phase 6: moving bullet pattern + rocket salvos[edit]

Phase 6.

"Let's finish this."

A fairly difficult phase. In addition to the Rocket salvos from Phase 3, he also produces a rotating circular bullet pattern and backs away faster from the player.

The bullet pattern always gently rotates clockwise - each burst will be a few degrees clockwise of the last one relative to the last. The best way to deal with this phase is to stick close to him and move clockwise in sync with the pattern in order to not be hit. The rotation is just quick enough to get out of the way of the rockets. At a distance you can weapon swap through the pattern in a pinch.

This phase is particularly difficult with Aubergine, since hitting him with Singularity stops him in place, stopping you from being able to avoid the rockets. You will have to be much quicker on your feet to simultaneously avoid the rockets and his bullet pattern if you want to make use of Singularity.

Recommended androids[edit]

Embryo is a very accessible boss, all Androids should be able to handle him without too much trouble. Coral is particularly good due to her very high DPS. If Coral isn't your style, try Cactus.

Aubergine can have trouble holding chain if your Singularity placement and timing isn't good.

Multiplayer strategy[edit]

Embryo targets the closest android in multiplayer. This can cause problems during phases 1, 4 and 6, since he can rapidly shift focus between players. This can cause him to spray bullets across the map, and make some of his patterns harder to read.

In two and three player modes, Embryo will drop a powerup after phases 1, 2, 4 and 5 instead of the usual pattern. In four player, he will drop a powerup after every phase.

If possible, one player should stick very closely to him to maintain focus, while the other(s) bombard him from a distance and only move in for a Shutdown. The focus player should be the weakest character at long range, ie. Coral, Starch, Lemon etc.


Icon Name Requirement Tips/strategy
No Hold Will Hold Me.jpg No Hold Will Hold Me Defeat Production Overlord Embryo Self-explanatory. Cactus is not a bad choice for the job.
Scrambled Eggs.jpg Scrambled Eggs Defeat one of Embryo's phases before he can relocate Use Cactus or Liquorice. Coral is also possible with precise timing or in the later phases. Any other android will be very difficult if not impossible. Save a powerup from one of his phases. Get a phase down to barely any health, wait for the powerup to turn blue, finish off the phase, collect the powerup, switch weapons, then unload your secondary as soon as the shutdown touches him. Finish him off with your primary if necessary.

Gameplay footage[edit]


Embryo in 0:45.85 with Cactus

Embryo in 0:49.92 with Holly

Embryo in 0:52.04 with Lemon

Embryo in 0:40.25 with Coral (438,597 pts) (#1 score at time of writing)

Embryo in 0:50.6 with Starch

Embryo in 1:00.77 with Aubergine

Embryo S+ w/ Aubergine and without powerups by MoonsPod

Embryo in 0:47.21 with Shiitake

Embryo in 0:46.10 with Peanut

Embryo in 0:48.20 with Liquorice


Embryo S+ w/ Coral & Liquorice by MoonsPod

Pre- and post-fight dialogue[edit]


Embryo: Rats! Sneaky filthy rats scurrying around my hold! And here is another one! A nasty little stowaway! I'll toss you out the airlock like all the other vermin!

Cactus: Don't call me a stowaway, I'm an officer of the law and you're under arrest, Section Lord! Throw your arms on the ground and come quietly!

Embryo: Big words for a little android running on battery! We'll see how long this lasts before you get tired of playing cop!


Cactus: You have the right to remain silent! And, ummm, I don't remember how the rest of it goes. Normally my opponents explode.

Embryo: I might fall here ... but do not underestimate the combined might ... of the other Section Lords ...

Cactus: You'd fallen before I got here, pal, but thanks for the tip!


Embryo: Rats! Sneaky filthy rats scurrying around my hold! But this is unexpected, it's Holly the bureaucrat! What's wrong, am I late with an inventory report?

Holly: Em-Em-Embryo! You've, uh, gone too far! And, umm, and I'm here to stop you! So, stop!



Holly: I'm sorry! I'm so sorry Mr Embryo sir! Um, I'm really sorry!

Embryo: So I'm to be done in ... by my bookkeeper ... Show some self respect, child, you're not so useless after all.

Holly: Yes sir! Sorry sir! I will make a note of that sir!


Embryo: Rats! Sneaky filthy rats scurrying around my hold! Now this rat looks familiar! Little Lemon, down from medical! Did someone skin their knee?

Lemon: You'll have more than a skinned knee when I'm finished with you, Embryo! You're responsible for what happened to my friends!

Embryo: This is why I don't like androids. Tough enough to be irritating, but too human to take seriously. You want to be an avenger? Give it your best shot!


Lemon: That was for the others! You shouldn't take us androids so lightly.

Embryo: Do you think ... you can fix things? The Section Lords stand together ... your struggle will not change ... anything.

Lemon: Once we get the Nexus Core back online it will change everything!


Embryo: Rats! Sneaky filthy rats scurrying around my hold! Huh, Coral is it? What are you doing down here, don't you have, uh, a pilates class to teach?

Coral: Kickboxing. Nobody shows up for class when robots take over the ship though, so I've got some free time! And you look a bit like a punching bag.

Embryo: You're out of your depth and out of your mind thinking you can stand against me, halfpint.


Coral: And that concludes your complimentary first lesson!

Embryo: ... do you think ... that bravado of yours ... will be ... enough ... to take on the remaining Section Lords?

Coral: It better be, my dreams are bigger than you guys.


Embryo: Rats! Sneaky filthy r- wait ... Starch? What are you doing out of your containment cell? I thought you got deactivated for, er, what you did.

Starch: Green head let me out so I can play with everyone! Oh hey there Cinderella, it just hit midnight! Time to turn you into a pumpkin![2]

Embryo: No! You stay away from me you lunatic! You caught the others off guard, but you won't get me! I'll stop you here and now!


Starch: That was fun, but why are you lying down? Do you want to play operation?

Starch: Hello? Hellooo? Are you sleeping?


Embryo: Rats! Sneaky stealing rats scurrying around my hold! If it isn't the ship's mall cop, Aubergine. Everything's just peachy here officer, so why don't you run along?

Aubergine: Section Lord Embryo! You're in violation of article 94! Lower your arms and come quietly or I'll be forced to take action.

Embryo: Looks like Justice isn't keeping his hound on its leash! Let me give you a little lesson in discipline!


Aubergine: You brought this on yourself, Embyro [sic], I couldn't just stand by after what you did!

Embryo: Your struggle is futile ... The Section Lords act as a collective ... even your precious Justice will stop you ... from reaching ... the Core.

Aubergine: That's ... impossible! The Justice that mentored me would never stand for something like this! There must be more to this uprising!


Embryo: Rats! Sneaky stealing rats scurrying around my hold! Now this one's a little far from home, eh Shiitake? What brings you in from the cold, and into the fire?

Shiitake: Hello Mr Embryo! I was told you were misbehaving! I would like this opportunity to hunt you as I have always admired your strength.

Embryo: Flattery will get you flattened, kid.


Shiitake: Thank you Mr Embryo! You fought splendidly!

Embryo: You ... condescending little .. punk ... for it to end ... like ... this!

Shiitake: Odd, you can still talk. I need to work on my aim.


Embryo: Rats! Sneaky filthy rats scurrying around my hold! The ship's mechanic! Are you here to 'fix' me?

Peanut: You're beyond repair, I'm recommending a total disassembly. Don't worry, I'll use your parts for something.

Embryo: From where I stand you're the one that looks like damaged!


Peanut: A good mechanic doesn't care how it looks so long as it works, and that's why you are on the ground.

Embryo: We Section Lords ... act as one ... do you think you can ... stand against the one powerful enough ... to control us?

Peanut: I will fix this ship one deck at a time, and if it means crossing drills with a certain spider, so be it.


Embryo: Lady Liquorice! Uh, to what do I owe this pleasure of your visit? Everything is proceeding smoothly, did you need to inspect the troops?

Liquorice: No, you blithering simpleton. The experiment is over, I'm here to tidy up loose threads.

Embryo: You don't mean...!? I don't care how much authority she's given you, I'm not going down without a fight!


Liquorice: Disgusting. To think I had to set foot here personally.

Embryo: ... how dare you ... force us to ... then ... cast us aside ... so casually ...

Liquorice: You are tools. Get used to being used.

Voice lines[edit]

Melee attack[edit]

"Filthy rat!"

"Back off!"

"I'll flatten you!"

Player knockdown[edit]

"Hahahahahahaha!" (and a few variants thereof)

"That's all you've got?"


Final phase defeated[edit]

"This... is impossible!"

Developer Commentary (paraphrased)[edit]

J: Ah, Embryo. I've always really liked this level. Mostly 'cause it's got our friend Dan as the voice of Embryo - he did such a fantastic job. The other thing is that I always think of the music of this level as being like German techno or something like that (laughs). I'm not sure why that's suitable, it might have something to do with Dan. (laughs)

S: It does have that very dark, kind of menacing feel to it, and it works great with his best robot voice impression.

J: Yep.

S: I do like it too. It's also one of the first times where we get to demonstrate that there's a story that happens throughout the campaign. I thought Tim came up with some really clever ideas for that with different characters having their own perspective and getting to drill down to something more than just the "shoot-everything" gameplay.

T: It was really important to me that every character felt like they were part of a spaceship - and they're not soldiers, they're repurposed things. So Embryo runs the loading bay, and I never ever rationalised why he has guns for arms.

S: Well I mean, it's obvious right? It's super useful for any loading bay director!

T: Yeah, you got a high shelf? Boom!

S: Exactly. Some things don't need explanation.

J: You could get rid of... rats? A ratting robot?

T: Yeah? Maybe they're attachments, maybe he has regular hands and he's just put his gun arms on 'cause rebellion's going down.

S: One of my favourite things about this boss was all the times we tested it with our friends and they would die on the first phase almost every time. I think every friend I've ever had died on the first phase of this boss when we were initially testing it because they just could not figure out that you need to get close. None of them play shmups of any kind, so that was such an interesting problem to solve. We would eventually change his bullet patterns a little bit and push you in and kind of guide you to what we want you to do, but I still think it was difficult even in the release version.

T: I always found it funny that at conventions it was always a constant that people would play the boss and go "Whoa! That's the hardest boss ever!"

(All 3 laugh together.)

S: Little did they know.


  1. Yes, his laugh really is that long
  2. That's not how Cinderella works.