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 13 – Back to Contents
#101
Revived!! "Golgo 13 Chapter 1: Twilight of the Gods"

Chousen

After episode number 100 and a 100-day vacation, the beginning of the 13th season also brings some number play: Arino’s tasked with conquering Golgo 13 for Famicom, better known to English-speaking countries as Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode for NES. And coincidentally enough, it has 13 arduous stages for the kacho to try to get through as he assumes the role of the manga super spy. He also has a new chair, and a new tie for the occasion, both bright and bold compared to his tattered old tie from years before.

Arino begins the game, and we see Duke Togo, aka Golgo 13, arriving at the Tegel airport and meeting Maria Lovelette, the gorgeous FIXER agent. She gives Arino his mission: to find Condor, a man who knows about a secret vaccine, but has gone missing. From there, the game properly begins with a regular side-scrolling action stage. Arino walks to the right a little more, and then the screen instantly shifts into a little first-person shooting gallery mode, where enemies bound around the screen and must be shot down. Arino dusts them, then continues.

Another tip from an anonymous informant (regarding going to Brandenburg) is gathered in a train station, and Arino notes down the hint on the whiteboard. Unfortunately, he’s attacked after leaving the station, and that finally brings his health points to 0. Cleverly enough, the screen says "to be continued" rather than Game Over. When Arino returns to the title screen, he sees it reads "part 2" rather than "part 1." Not the most telling continue system, but regardless, he has to start over.

The pesky enemies from the train station are defeated, and Arino makes his way to a second station, where he meets Cherry Grace, another FIXER vixen, telling him of a sniper positioned at the television station. Immediately, Togo hops into a helicopter and heads to the TV tower. In game terms, this means Act 2 opens as a side-scrolling shooter — not a genre Arino is known to be good at. And indeed, he dies in seconds.

The shooting stage is humorously un-grounded in reality, and Arino finds himself dying a few more times before finally pulling out the instuction manual and learning about one annoying enemy in the stage. Once he finds out it takes 15 hits, he pumps it full of lead, and finally gets close to the TV station. The game shifts modes once again, into a sniper shooting sequence — sniping being Togo’s speciality, after all. Arino struggles with the shakiness of his aim, but eventually dispatches the sniper.

On to the rest of Act 2! Arino takes a moment by pausing the game, but is surprised to see the pause screen, which starts playing the Golgo 13 theme song, complete with lyrics. You couldn’t sing along in the NES version, that’s for sure. After Arino tries a few verses, he continues through the second stage.

Arino learns that Condor is at Potsdam station, and that’s where he heads. Finally, he finds Condor, but he’s shot in the middle of conversation. He instructs Arino to head to the river, which means he has to go all the way back to the hotel. He meets Cherry Grace in her room, where Arino is treated to a little late-night romance. Unsurprisingly, once the lights go out, his health begins to replenish.

After daybreak, Arino hits the streets again (although he’d like to go back to the hotel one more time). He meets the female informant from earlier, who gives him scuba gear for the river. And so Act 3 begins, with an underwater shooting stage. Unfortunately, Arino keeps bumping into mines, sharks, and octopi, which all take huge chunks out of his health.

There’s a tight group of mines right before the exit point, but of course, Arino repeatedly runs into them. After one careful attempt, he gets out of the water and enters a warehouse, only to be killed by small missiles that fly right into him. After restarting that section, he’s killed again by multi-gun turrets. Somebody really doesn’t like trespassers.

But then, after making his way through the level and hopping some platforms, Arino doesn’t quite make a jump and falls right back into the water! Yes, he has to go back through those hellish sections, but we’re spared much of it. At least he makes that jump next time.

Arino meets another informant, Oz Windham, and is instructed to go through an underground passage. This means yet another new game mode: the first-person maze! Arino’s a bit disappointed at this turn of events, probably because first-person mazes in 8-bit games were a little, shall we say, vague. Arino begins poking around the maze, and eventually finds a ladder leading back up.

That takes us to Act 4, where Arino heads to Athens. Needless to say, with a bunch of new, annoying enemies, he dies pretty quickly. More than a few times, really… OK, more than 50, to be exact. Eventually, the continues reach their limit, and Arino returns to the title screen to see that continue counter reset to 1. He’s speechless. He starts the game, just to be sure, and yep, back to the very start.

Reality hits hard. As Arino grudgingly plays again, a figure emerges from behind the camera, a young man who tells Arino that he has only 51 continues before such a reset occurs. Arino takes a moment, and finally reponds with "who are you?" Why, it’s the new AD, Katayama! Actually, he does have some actual help: the fact that the game has a Round Select screen for easy warping. Using a command on both controllers, Katayama helps Arino return to Act 4.

He continues through the stage and reveals more of the story, including a distressing development where his sniper rifle was stolen. Another side-scrolling action stage follows, and then Arino reaches the shore, where Cherry reappears. She once again gives Arino scuba gear, which leads to — ugh — another water section. There are no mines, though, just thugs, and soon, Arino reaches an underwater tank, and begins Act 5.

Act 5 leads Arino through the inside of the tank, but then back outside, all the way back to the beginning of the Greece area, where he enters the hotel and meets another pretty acquaintance, Eve Christy. Cherry Grace has been captured, but there’s nothing to do now but to, ahem, enjoy the night. The game asks children to press the B button before Eve disrobes, but Arino declares himself an adult, and watches the fun unfold. Well, until the lights go out again.

Fast-forward to another shooting stage, where Arino watches as the helicopter explodes, but Duke Togo ejects, landing in the water and beginning Act 6. After swimming some more (and being killed by mines), Arino heads into another facility, where he’s further killed by turrets and annoying thugs.

Eventually, he runs out of continues again. AD Katayama rushes in for another Round Select code, but only lets Arino begin from Act 4. It takes about an hour to get back ro Act 6, where he meets Oz Windham again. There, Arino learns that Eve Christy was the evil mastermind’s girlfriend! Gasp! Arino’s instantly taken to another 3D maze.

He worms his way through that, meets with Cherry again, and then begins Act 7, where he talks to Cherry once more, and plays a brief side-scrolling section before finding an enemy thug in a buildling and being thrown into yet another maze.

This maze is the most complex one in the game, with three levels to it and a lot of tricks and traps. Luckily, Katayama returns with a set of hand-drawn maps that he posts on the whiteboard. Arino tracks the map and starts grabbing the necessary keys. This starts to get positively epic as Arino shoots down enemy after enemy, blows out walls so he can pass through, and opens more doors — until he’s suddenly killed by a laser trap, ending all of his progress.

The laser traps are just awful: They’re speedy, but Arino can only run past them when there’s a brief break in their pattern. He makes his way through the maze again, and then must get past several laser traps before reaching the door with the rifle he needs to continue. Once he grabs the gun, the theme song chimes in, and it’s a smooth escape from the maze.

With gun in hand, Arino moves on to Act 8, a jungle stage. It’s comparitively brief, though, and we jump ahead as Arino dies in Act 9 repeatedly, losing his continues once more. At least Katayama lets him continue from the same stage this time.

Act 10 is another shooting stage that shifts to an arctic setting, and then all he has to do is walk to the right and into Act 11. Here is another 3D maze, but it’s just a short path. There, Arino faces the evil mastermind: Hitler! (The less impactful "Smirk" in the American version.) Why is it always Hitler? Of course, the dictator offers Arino the chance to rule the world together, which is swiftly denied by Togo.

Arino then faces a clone Golgo 13 in a 3D maze, who is very fast and tough, just like the real thing. After losing once, Arino nails the pattern of the boss — shoot him immediately once he lands from his jumps — and continues on through a side-scrolling and underwater section (where he’s killed repeatedly by mines, of course). After those hardships, it’s on to the final act.

Act 13 begins on top of the military facility, but Arino is quickly killed by turrets, and the resulting death forces him back to the beginning of Act 12! After falling victim to the mines over and over again, Katayama is called back to bring Arino to Act 12 again.

Arino makes it to Act 13 and deftly destroys the missiles and other enemies. He enters a door at the end of the level, bringing him to the lab where the brain of Hitler is being held (then what was with the other guy?). The final battle is a shooting gallery-mode section, where Arino must simply defeat all the enemies that are leaping around. Yeah, simple… he dies in a minute.

When he gets back, Katayama returns with some tips. After defeating all of the thugs, Arino must then shoot down a series of blinking lights above some chambers, as well as some moving turrets and a flying Hitler head, before finally going after the brain itself. All in about a few minutes before it’s an instant Game Over, by the way.

Arino gives it his all, despite repeated failures. FInally, after several attempts, he kills all the standard enemies, leaving only the turrets and lights. He has just a minute left, but the turrets finish off the last of his health. Things are looking dire — can Arino manage to finish the game?

Over 20 attempts pass. At around the 25th, Arino has nothing but the turrets left. He keeps firing at them, moves to the brain, fires at one last light, and then, the game moves to a sniper sequence, where Togo delivers the final shot down the sight of his gun. Arino does it, and in the regulation 12 hours! The ending? A simple message: "the battle is over." Well, it’s a rollicking start to the 13th season regardless.

TamaGe

Chuo is the backdrop for this TamaGe, where Arino is set to visit JJ Club 100, a pretty big game center. He calls it "JJ Club one-hundred," but the sign right next to him reads "JJ Club one-oh-oh," which… doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Once inside, Arino begins with the trackball-based SNK game Ultra Denryu Iraira Bou, which you may know better as "The Irritating Maze." In it, you use the trackball to navigate the tip of a pole through an electrified maze that’s peppered with nafarious obstacles meant to screw you up. Arino does OK until the first real obstacle, where a bunch of moving blocks impede his progress. He continues to mess up, but the good thing about JJ Club is that it’s all-you-can-play for a nominal fee, so the game itself is set on Free Play.

After being extra careful, Arino makes it a little farther through the maze, and bit by bit, he finally clears the first one. The second one is no easier, though, as it traps Arino’s pole in a small electrified cage that moves around a zigzaggy track. He gets past it, but then dies a few more times in another part. That’s enough for now.

Further down the hall is a setup for Virtual On Oratorio Tangram, and Arino spots a lone little boy playing it. Naturally, he sits down next to the boy and challenges him. Amazingly, it’s Arino that wins the first round, but that just seems to unleash the beast, a the boy comes back hard and wastes Arino in seconds. The two continue to play as the segment ends.

Crash Videos MAX

In this inagural edition, Arino warily steps into AD Inoue’s apartment, where they watch Inoue’s narrated accident videos, the first one of Excitebike (where the poor racer does about six cartwheels), and two gruesome scenes from Balloon Fight: being electrocuted in Balloon Trip mode, and being eaten alive by the giant fish in each level. Following that, the especially nasty scene of being crushed between elevator and ceiling in Elevator Action.

Game Collections: 1990: September

 

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