April 10th, 2007 | Feature
The Game Center CX Episode Guide
The front-to-back tribute to the Japanese TV show that flies in the face of Nintendo's epilepsy warnings.

 

Game Center CX Season 11 – Back to Contents
#88

Gudaguda!? "Dig Dug II"
[Gudaguda = exhausting]

Chousen

This episode aired just a couple of days after the epic 24-hour special, but in fact was taped weeks before. Arino saw that coming, though, so of course he jokes about the restulf of a special that had yet to happen. Wahey! Anyway, this time, Arino is playing a pretty simple game: Namco’s Dig Dug II for Famicom. Rather than a game of digging underground to burst enemies, Dig Dug II is a game of walking around an island to burst and/or sink enemies by destroying plots of land.

There are dozens of stages, so can Arino get to the ending in time? The game begins, and Arino quickly discovers Dig Dug II’s drilling feature, where the hero (Dig Dug; Taizo, whatever you want to call him) can cut the islands any which way and, if an enemy Pooka or Fygar happens to be there, it falls when the land does.

Arino gets up to stage 3, but accidentally downs himself when he fails to escape the crumbling island. That was the last of his lives, and surprisingly, that means Game Over, and he already has to restart at stage 1 — never a good sign. Is there no way to continue? Why, yes. The voice of AD Ito is heard from the back, and she instructs Arino to push Up on the controller. It’s a hint: specifically, Arino has to push Up at the "Ready" screen, and then can quickly select the last stage(s) he was at before the game starts.

He still can’t beat stage 3, though — perhaps Arino is trying too hard to sink enemies instead of bursting them? He specifically waits for a Pooka to get in just the right spot, then sink it. At any rate, that takes him to stage 4. There, he manages to take out the whole group of enemies by erasing half the island, and he’s very pleased with that.

In stage 6, Arino gets ready to defeat one last enemies, but then watches as the Pooka commits suicide by jumping into the water all by itself! At least it saves time. Stage 7 becomes a comical run, as Arino tries to lure the neemies over to the side where al the drilling points are. Luckily, he manages to sink them all in one go once more.

Arino’s success carries him through to stage 12, where the layout of the stage (shaped like the "II" in the game’s name) causes him to pause before starting, just to form a game plan. Then he’s killed by touching an enemy. The whole thing takes about nine more tries before he finally clears it.

As the stage numbers increase, so do the numbers of enemies. Arino starts getting overwhelemed by all the Pookas and Fygars running around. It takes over one hour and 80 tries on stage 15 before AD Emoto comes in and offers some help.

Basically, Arino should try to stagger the drilling, going down the line and then back up in order to stay safe from the enemies and eventually get the island ready to fall. He manages to get half the enemies gone that way, but there are still plenty of Pookas to kill. After several close calls (Arino quickly turns around and pumps the enemies), he finally clears stage 15.

Stage 16 begins, and it’s not too different — Arino once again dies in a flash. After that, he gets close to winning, but gets killed right after sinking a part of the land. Eventually, on the next try, the last Pooka kills itself once again, and Arino heads into stage 17, where the land changes color to gray. He blazes through to stage 22, where things again slow down due to a Benny Hill-esque chase between Arino and several Pookas. In another close call, he manages to trip a drill point and sink them before it’s too late.

Stage 24 is another toughie, taking more than 50 attempts for Arino for beat it. He gets up to stage 26, dies, then on the next life, immediately kills himself by cutting off the wrong piece of land. Stage 27 ends miraculously, with Arino seemingly drilling at the wrong point, but instead taking off the upper third of land, and all but one of the enemies with it. A now-rare moment of awesomeness.

Stage 31 is very small, and as soon as it begins, Arino pauses. He tries to go to the right to avoid getting hit and lure them over, but it fails. It takes a remarkable 136 tries for Arino to get anywhere on this stage. At that point, he’s down to just four enemies, and carefully tries to finish them off with the pump. It works!

Arino moves on to stage 34. By now, the land has turned back to green, and the kacho is more careful with the drilling. Now, he more calmly pumps enemies if he needs to, and things go relatively smoothly on into the 40s… and the 50s! In fact, stage 50 is when Arino expects it to end.

But it doesn’t. Stage 51 begins, and Emoto returns to Arino’s side. He informs Arino that the game actually has 72 stages in total. Fortunately, Arino continues to move forward smoothly, blowing through the stages, though not exactly enjoying it — he just wants it all to end!

He reaches the 60s, but now it’s just becoming routine rather than a challenge: a bunch of enemies, several hundred taps of the pump button, and another bundle of points. On the other hand, stage 64 starts to be a real pain in the butt, as Arino tries to eke his way out of the crowd of enemies. It takes over an hour on this one stage before he finally pumps the last two enemies.

Arino speeds through the rest of the stages, finally getting to stage 69. There, he starts to be more aware of the fish that jumps out of the water after sinking a small piece of land, and decides to have some fun trying to catch it with the pump. He doesn’t quite catch it, though, but he does keep moving forward, all the way to stage 71. In 71, he finally nabs the fish, and even though it’s 500 points, it was still a nice little mini-accomplishment. And then stage 72 appears. Arino is an expert now, and once more kicks butt.

A small cut-scene plays, and then… the game starts over. It’s stage 1, but with a gray color. Apparently the game loops right after the final stage. Just then, the ADs appear. Emoto tells Arino that even he and AD Ito didn’t get far enough to see the real ending (if there is one).

Instead, Emoto and Ito present Arino with two drawings — their own handmade "ending screens," so to speak, and all Arino has to do is pick one to officially clear this challenge. Ito’s drawing is adorable and color, and Emoto’s… isn’t. It’s an easy choice.

TamaGe

Arino is in Toshima-ku to check out one of its market streets, as well as find a particular shop for the day’s journey. First things first: eating! Arino visits a hot food stand on the street and buys a goma-dango, and is taken aback by the extreme kindness of the lady at the register ("arigatou gozaimaaaaasu!"). After finishing the dango, Arino spots another place to get food, and buys a potato korokke.

Eventually, after realizing he should be looking for games, he finds the shop he was directed towards: Bunbuku, a fairly large (if crowded, of course) toy store. However, they also have some small arcade games tucked in the corner outside, so Arino sits down at one of them.

And it just happens to have the Simpsons arcade game from Konami. Arino gets AD Emoto to join him, and the two of them (Arino as Homer; Emoto as Bart) start playing, though Arino notices AD Watanabe eating his korokke.

Soon, Arino enters the store to have a look around. He picks a curious item from the top shelf: a 25th anniversary collection of sentai figures — specifically, all the red sentai from all those years of kids’ superhero TV shows.

And then, in the back room, he finds a slot car circuit. To play, he must first get a model car and assemble it, so Arino gets Emoto and AP Nakayama in on the action. They all pick out a car, then take it back to the room, put together the cars, and 30 minutes later, they’re all ready to race.

Arino’s car gets a huge lead, but soon, Nakayama’s car crashes, and the ensuing carnage leaves everyone’s car in the same track, pushing each other down the lane.

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