Compared to most MAs which act like agile tanks, Garuda's lack of wheels or treads implies that it is a flight-only unit designed for aerospace combat.
Garuda was once piloted by Leibniz to protect his planet in Area G. But then mutants overran his home, corrupting it into Planade-G, and he lost his support droid in battle. Since then, Leibniz and Garuda have wandered the cosmos, attacking anyone and anything they find without the support droid to keep the pilot stable. One attack in particular on NORA MA-06 "EIR" is repelled, but the encounter causes Eir's pilot, Kanna, to conclude that all other MAs and their pilots are enemies.
Blaster Master Zero 2
Garuda is first met upon entering Area D, where it blindsides Gaia-SOPHIA and forces a landing on a nearby (non-map) planetoid. While escaping is as simple as running away from the fight and launching from the save point, this allows Garuda to continue its random harassment until Jason finally defeats the hostile MA. Upon victory, Eve will hack Garuda's OS and retrieve the data for Area G's first planetoid, Planetoid G-1.
Garuda is encountered again in Area G's Planetoid G-1, this time employing additional attacks to defeat G-SOPHIA. Upon being defeated again, Garuda will drop Planetoid G-2's map before retreating to Planetoid G-3, where it supports its pilot via remote aerial bombardment.
Garuda is encountered again in Area Omega, ready to render a (relatively) helpless Eve to scrap. Her impending destruction is interrupted by the appearance of Elfie and Andreia. Shaken by the reveal that Elfie is a "spirit" (ostensibly confirming the existence of souls and that support droids have them), Leibniz flies away in Garuda after revealing the purpose of the Emblems.
In the True Ending's epilogue, Leibniz and Garuda are shown answering Earth's distress call, with Leibniz wondering if him being the hero this time will "drive [Jason] crazy."
Blaster Master Zero 3
During the beginning of Blaster Master Zero 3, Garuda head to Planet Sophia after saving Earth only to be shoot down by the Sophia Force. With Garuda down the Sophia Force took it to be scraped but not before Leibniz escape with Garuda’s HOMING LASER.
After Leibniz escape from the SF he finds Gaia-SOPHIA SV and install Garuda’s HOMING LASER well trying to hijack Gaia-SOPHIA SV only to run into Jason.
A conversation at the NORA Satellite Zone with Jason, Leibniz, Kane and Jennifer reveals that Garuda was suppose to be scraped but Team Delta intervene and secretly took Garuda away to be repair and modified. Leibniz realize that Garuda wont be ready anytime soon, ask Jennifer to tell Team Delta to add a control stick as the steering wheel was a huge design flaw.
|“||Jason: This thing has some serious speed! It's gonna be a tough fight!
Eve: ...If we're committed to this fight, we'll need a strategy! Changing your subweapons to match each of GARUDA's attacks will be key!”
|— "Garuda" Eve Chat (Area D excerpt)|
Inti Creates' official site describes Garuda as "a high-spec Metal Attacker capable of faster-than-light travel."
Fight 1 (Area D)
In battle, Garuda employs hit-and-run tactics, with its flight pattern in the background acting as a warning for what attacks it will use:
- A plateau-shaped pattern means Garuda will fly in and hover in diagonal attack range before launching two waves of three-way shots. Any deployed bits (see below) will support this attack by launching their own bullets at the player.
- G-SOPHIA can use Auto-Cluster's laser shots to counter Garuda's three-way shots, destroying them mid-flight and setting the Enhance Flag for this attack.
- Flying almost close to ground level means Garuda will charge along the foreground using its mass to deal damage (though it does not employ a special ability like Spark Tackle, so Burn Spark can easily dodge it while damaging Garuda in turn).
- G-SOPHIA can use Repulsion Upper's repulsion jacks to counter Garuda's charge, stopping the MA in its tracks and opening it up briefly for a counter-attack while also setting the Enhance Flag for this attack.
- When flying straight across the top, Garuda will strafe a barrage of lasers that curve around to target G-SOPHIA.
- G-SOPHIA can use Impact Wave to counter Garuda's homing lasers, destroying them before they can deal damage while also setting the Enhance Flag for this attack.
- When flying diagonally, Garuda will leave a series of bits that soon deploy shields, damaging on contact and deflecting any attacks that hit them similar to the Vector Reflector Blast Counter. The bits may be pushed around with gunfire while not active, or at any time using Burn Spark, but will generally persist until their eventual auto-destruction 3-4 attack cycles later.
- G-SOPHIA can use Hexa Missiles's multi-lock mode to counter Garuda's bits while they are not shielded, destroying them in one shot and setting the Enhance Flag for this attack.
Fight 2 (Area G)
Garuda's pattern is overall the same as before, but with extras added to certain attacks which had their Enhance Flags set during the previous fight:
- Garuda's vulnerability period while firing three-way shots is reduced due to the MA shielding itself for part of the attack.
- G-SOPHIA's Revol-Buster main cannon is well-suited for rapidly dealing damage before Garuda's shield comes back up.
- Garuda now protects itself with energy during its charge, which leaves explosions in its wake, and is immune to damage and Repulsion Upper's effects while the energy aura stays intact.
- G-SOPHIA can disrupt Garuda's enhanced charge with Burn Spark, stopping the MA in its tracks and stripping it of its energy aura for a short duration. However, Garuda will resume its charge and restore its energy aura at the end of this duration, requiring another tackle to repeat the disruption.
- Garuda now fires a second volley of homing lasers in the opposite direction from the first volley. In addition, the MA shields itself while firing lasers.
- A fully-charged or supercharged Full Accel Burst is able to deal massive damage to Garuda while it is flying overhead.
- Garuda's bits will no longer be destroyed in one hit by Hexa Missiles's multi-lock mode. In addition, Garuda shields itself while laying new bits, only becoming vulnerable when it is about to fly off-screen.
- Three-way shots and shielded charges that hit the bits will now cause them to shoot lightning straight downward, with each bolt creating two spark projectiles which travel along the ground in opposite directions.
Setting all four Enhance Flags is necessary to trigger full-power Garuda and acquire the "G vs G" achievement in Blaster Master Zero 2's Steam version; defeating full-power Garuda for the first time will grant the "NORA MA-07" achievement. (Flags which were not set in the previous fight can still be set in this fight by using the correct Fight 1 counters.)
Garuda is difficult, but those with a plethora of sub-weapons can easily counter its attacks, if they manage their SP properly. Floating rocks across the battlefield can act as platforms to jump off and trigger the Gaia System. They crumble after a few seconds, but more will always fly in.
|“||Jason: This thing has some serious speed! It's gonna be a tough fight!
Eve: ...If we're committed to this fight, we'll need a strategy! Changing your subweapons to match each of GARUDA's attacks will be key!
|— "Garuda" Eve Chat (Area D Fight)|
|“||(I hope I can still use my strategy of changing my sub-weapons to match GARUDA's attacks... Leibniz could be ready to counter G-SOPHIA's weapons as well... Even then...!!) I can't lose here! I will defy his baseless predictions...!”|
|— Jason (Planetoid G-1 Refight)|
|Sophia||Classic series: Sophia 3rd · Sophia 4th · Sophia J-7 · S.O.P.H.I.A.|
|Others (Antiquity)||Metal Attacker|
|Others (BMZ2)||Kuebiko · Garuda · Eir · Atom · Andreia|
|Others (BMZ3)||Metal Attacker · Rising Garuda · SOPHIA-J1|