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
#104
Commemorating the Daytime Drama?! "GeGeGe no Kitaro: Fukkatsu! Tenma Daioh"

Chousen

Unless you’re a huge anime fan, you might not know about "GeGeGe no Kitaro," but in Japan it’s a decades-old franchise following the journeys of young netherworlder Kitaro and all the friends and enemies around him. Nevertheless, it’s also spawned many video games, including Arino’s challenge for this episode: GeGeGe no Kitaro: Fukkatsu! Tenma Daioh (Resurrection of the King of Demons) for the Super Famicom, the third Kitaro game and a pretty standard platformer. Arino must get through all 19 stages before seeing the ending; no small number for him.

The game starts in a forest level, and Arino doesn’t have to walk far before meeting his first enemy, a ghost that splits off its head and swoops in to attack. Kitaro’s main attack is his needle hair, which shoots out in front, and seems to be Arino’s only line of defense for now. Just a few steps later, and Arino meets the first boss, a giant green monster head that hops around and spits energy balls.

Arino keeps firing needles at the boss, but he eventually dies (or the spirit boy equivalent of dying, anyway) and starts over. On the second try, he pumps enough needles into the boss to paralyze it, allowing him to run to the end of the stage and begin the next.

The proper stage 1-1 begins. Apparently, the whole game is a string of boss-like encounters of various sizes, and Arino meets another boss halfway, a spectre that sends a giant mallet in his direction. It’s apparently invincible, so Arino falls once again. On the next try, he finally takes notice of the small icon on the left corner of the screen, indicating a special weapon, and a number representing "ammo" next to it. The proverbial ammo is replenished by grabbing pearls (that Arino jokingly equates with pearl rice, for some reason). Unfortunately, he dies a second time before getting to use anything. On another, he tries to use Kitaro’s trademark remote-control sandals, but that’s a bust, too. The boss is just too swift!

After all that, Arino just uses the regular needle attack slowly but surely to defeat the boss, and then it’s on to stage 1-2. The enemies continue to be tough and take a lot of hits, so he doesn’t even get to the proper boss before losing a few lives. Once he does, though, he encounters the next midboss, a particular freaky looking alien/skeleton, but that’s a breeze after a couple of tries.

Arino pushes on to stage 1-4, which turns into a shooting stage of some kind, with Kitaro riding on a platform being suspended by crows. The boss here is a giant cyclops, whose eye beams and flame breath kill Arino way too many times. Arino tries Kitaro’s powerful electric burst attack, but it’s hard to aim, and takes a lot of that pearl energy.

On the 12th attempt, Arino gets farther than ever, but still dies from a stray beam. On the 20th, Arino just runs right up to the cyclops’ eyeball and starts spamming the sandal attack, but even that doesn’t work! Maybe he’s not being careful enough?

Eventually, AD Katayama comes by with a gift: A book of boss tips, written by Katayama, and with illustrations by AD Ito. Almost all of the bosses are covered, with bullet-pointed tips to give Arino the edge. Arino reads up on the cyclops boss, and then begins his 32nd attempt. He blasts the boss with a few electrical strikes, but makes sure to fall back once his pearl energy is gone. He’s still not perfect, once again being whittled down to just one point of health.

After waiting for the boss to fire a beam and spit fire one more time, Arino swoops over and hits the cyclops right where it counts… and that’s it! That was the final hit! Victory is finally Arino’s… for that stage. Stage 2-1 begins at nighttime, and the boss here is an annoying wolf spirit that changes into a puff of smoke and floats around.

Arino defeats it, but the boss isn’t dead, turning into another spirit form that, after a few normal attacks, ends by turning into a tiger and taking a big swipe at our hero. A couple dozen tries, and he finally wins.

We fast forward to stage 3-1, a creepy mansion that houses Frankenstein’s monster. It’s one of the tougher bosses, taking many hits and never once pausing as it shuffles toward Arino, but Arino can evade its attacks easily. After enough hits, Frankie falls, has a chandelier crash on him, but even after being burned by the fixture’s candles, he gets back up, charred and even more lethal. Arino dies from the monster’s newfound fire wave attack.

The second try’s the charm, and Arino burns away the monster for good. He heads upstairs, but the cliches don’t stop there: the next fight is against the wolfman, who just loves to jump kick. Arino can at least get a few hits in after the wolfman pauses after landing, and he soon proves to be a pushover — until a second wolfman jumps out of a painting. Is this really the best the game can do? Well, it’s good enough to kill Arino a few more times.

A few more attempts pass, and Arino repeatedly attacks and moves as the wolfman jumps over him again and again. Once both wolfmen are gone, Arino winces from his aching thumbs. Stage 3-3 is in the basement of the mansion, and there, for some reason, lives Dracula, who immediately transforms into a man-bat and repeatedly swoops down to attack. Arino survives, though, and it’s on to stage 3-4.

A wicked witch rules stage 3-4, and her spell projectiles turn Arino into a watermelon, a penguin, and… well, he defeats her before he finds out. Six stages remain, and it’s not even nighttime — I guess Arino’s not doing so bad after all?

Arino bites it a few more imes in stage 4-1, mostly due to a ferocious family of dragons that appear out of a cave above a waterfall. They seem to come in all the colors of the rainbow, but they’re fairly stupid — Arino just has to stand in one spot. The question is, which spot? He keeps dying no matter where he stays. Eventually he smartens up, and learns to simply jump out of the way of the dragons’ fireballs.

But soon after that, he finds out he can stay perched on a somewhat farther platformand fire at the dragons from there with little recourse. Unfortunately, he’s stuck at one ponit of health again, and when the final dragon pops out, it really pops out, heading straight for Arino. He pauses out of panic. He takes a moment, then unpauses. Dead. Ah, it always ends the same way, doesn’t it?

With lessons learned, Arino defeats all the dragons by the 10th attempt, thanks to a well-placed electric attack to finish it off. The caverns get creepier in stage 4-2, and the main enemies, two cyclops jelly things, give Arino the most trouble. Progress comes to a halt as Arino tries like to hell to just hit the damn things.

Katayama returns, and offers to join up to help. This game has two-player co-op, you see, where Kitaro can be joined by one of his friends. Katayama also gives Arino a stage select code, which will be needed once the AD hits the reset button so they can start in 2P mode. Katayama chooses Nezumi Otoko (Mouse Man), and they go back to the troublesome stage.

Two problems: Both players have a shared life bar, and Katayama’s melee-only attacks aren’t of much help to Arino. The little jellies are defeated, but thaat just summons their giant "mother." With some determination, The two players defeat that menace, but as is now expected, even that boss transforms into another. Eventually they’re killed, and Katayama chooses to play as Shisa, a squat little demon who at least has a projectile attack.

Katayama’s new character seems to be enough to defeat that boss for good, and the stage is finally cleared. Katayama leaves, though, to leave Arino to his own devices, and to see if he can beat the game from here. Stage 5-1 is pretty much just set in Hell, or a reasonable facsimile. The main boss here is a towering white demon, Memeen, who can turn into a puddle and slip around, being a nuisance. After 15 tries, Arino manages to push him into the fire below, but then he just jumps back up, now colored red ("strawberry!" Observes Arino). A repeat of Arino’s tactic (i.e. "keep attacking") works fine, and it’s on to 5-2.

A bit of drama prefaces the stage, as Arino watches the wise of Nuraihyon murdered by demons, who he then must fight. As usual, the attempts reach the double digits (well over 30), but so little progress is made. Somewhere in all of that, Arino lucks into a pattern, and hits the murderous demons enough to finally beat them and advance the story.

The city around them is attacked by the Tenma Daioh (King of the Demons), a humongous white… thing that fires green lasers as if it’s some sort of UFO. It’s another simple shooting stage, but Arino still has trouble for a couple of tries as he attempts to hit the monster’s antennae that sprout from its body. After enough of that, though, stage 6-2 starts, the climactic final battle.

It’s still a shooting stage, but the Tenma Daioh has turned into a bright red, almost adorable pestilent spawn. Arino has trouble finding its weak point, so he checks out the ADs’ booklet. The entry on the last boss is empty! Perhaps Katayama didn’t get that far. After a few more minutes of fighting, the boss extends its tongue, which is another little monster that just fires more evil projectiles.

With two points of health left, Arino manages to hit the little demon enough (and block at the right times) to defeat it, thus blowing up the King of the Demons real good, and winning the game. The ending is a regular cut-scene, but hey, Arino actually beat a game without extending too far into the late hours! That’s gotta count for something.

TamaGe

We find Arino a little ways north of the center of Shinjuku to visit a game center by the train tracks: Mikado, a place that looks much larger than it does from the front, with an arcade that stretches pretty far back with games new and old.

One of the first ones Arino’s attracted to is Crackin’ DJ Part 2, Sega’s turntable music game (also a precursor to stuff like DJ Hero). The loud voice of the funky announcer is a little embarrassing to Arino, and when he finally starts the game, he has no idea how to play, so he loses in about 15 seconds. On the next credit, he tries the tutorial stage, where he learns how to spin the plates and flick the fader. The loudness is still embarrassing him, though, and he doesn’t do much better on the next real song. That’s enough for now.

The next game Arino spots is an old American classic: Atari’s Marble Madness. The trackball-based physics puzzler is a little too much for Arino, as he often pitches his marble off the edges or just plain runs out of time. But he recognizes it as a neat game nonetheless.

Upstairs is where most of the shooting games are, and Arino sits down in front of Shooting Love 2007, which includes the "Shmup Test" game that tests your gamer skill. Arino doesn’t pay much attention, though, so when the first test comes up, he just watches the target fly away — he was supposed to shoot it before it transformed. After failing the next couple of tests, he’s given his final score, which places his "gamer age" at 63. He doesn’t try to lower it.

Also on the same floor is a vintage Donkey Kong cocktail machine. Arino has a quick go at it, completing at least one loop of the game, but saving Pauline once is good enough. After that, it’s on to something a little more modern: Street Fighter IV!

Arino notices a projection screen on the far wall broadcasting one of the machines, so he sits down at that one. He calls over new AD Takahashi to play against him. Arino chooses his trusty Dhalsim, and Takahashi chooses Ken. The AD wastes no time in wasting the kacho, barely leaving Arino time to counter. After a quick glance at the move chart, Arino tries valiantly to execute a Yoga Fire, but Takahashi’s Ken just keeps up the offensive.

Takahashi wins all three rounds, and when Arino stands up, he notices AD Inoue and Katayama watching the game from the big screen. Arino then calls over Inoue for a game, which is where our story ends.

Crash Videos MAX

More scenes of horror are shown in the explosive cyborg deaths of The Ninjawarriors and Mega Man, and later, the punishing space vaccuum of Section Z, and those damn giant spiders killing Kuros in Wizards & Warriors.

Game Collections: 1990: December

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