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 15 – Back to Contents
#120
Puzzle & Action – "Tant-R"

Chousen

Time for a new kind of game on Game Center CX: The minigame collection! OK, so maybe it’s not that exciting, but we’ll see what happens. The title in question is Sega’s Tant-R for the Mega Drive: a collection of puzzle an action games, from 1994, even, so it predates a lot of the similar crap we see today.

First thing Arino does after starting the game is check out the difficulty levels. Hesees the "severe" difficulty, the hardest, and decides to go with it as a goof, since he went head first into F-Zero on Expert mode last time. Each round of Tant-R starts with a randomly-selected minigame. The first one Arino gets is Robot Factory, where you’re presented with a diagram of a robot and must pick out identical parts to build as many as you can. Arino takes too long, though, and loses. He continues, and does better this time. All he has to do is complete three robots, but he gets stuck on the second one, and times out. It doesn’t help that the pieces are arranged in all different orientations.

On the next attempt, he finally clears the quota and moves on to the next game. It’s Photo Shock, where you have to hit the "shutter" button right as a speedy object moves into the tiny frame. The thing has to be completely seen in the frame. Arino slips up on the first few, but eventually gets the hang of the timing as he snaps marathon runners, cars, jets, and cheetahs. He just barely makes the quota and moves on.

The next game is Kazunoko Dokonoko, a number game wherefour numbers are rapidly cycled in front of you, and you have to pick which set they belong to from a list. Arino aces it. The next game is a "lucky" panel, which chooses a random "mystery" game. Amusingly, Arino gets Kazunoko Dokonoko again. But once again, he gets all choices right on the first try. And that means the proper Stage 1 of Tant-R is complete!

The next game is Hitofude Mekuri Meguri, where you must take a cute little frog over a grid of squares, only going forward and not leaving one square untouched. For the first one, Arino does well, and is rather proud of himself. The next game is Flower Hat, a typical variation on the "shell game" where Arino must choose which hat has the flower after they’re shuffled around. He needs to get three right, but loses trying to pick the last one, which gets super fast. He tries and tries, but eventually gets a a Game Over.

Arino goes back to stage 1, and this time brings up a maze game. It’s straightforward, but large, and he only has less than a minute to get through it. He makes it with five seconds left, though. Next is a stopwatch game, where Arino has to push the button to stop a running stopwatch between a set boundary of seconds — here, he has to stop it in between 4"88 and 5"00. It’s nervewracking, but amazingly, he stops it right at 5"00. And that wraps up stage 1… again.

He begins stage 2, and one of the games is a kind of a one-way slide puzzle: Arino has to rearrange a jumbled photo into its proper order, but the pictures feature complicated patterns that are meant to confound. After losing a couple of times, he makes it under quota. But then, he runs into the hat-and-flowers one, which destroyed him last time. He does manage to make it this time, though.

Later on, he’s thrust into a block puzzle where you have to count all the cubes in a big stack. It’s not too hard, though, and Arino blasts ahead to stage 3. He barely passes another slide puzzle game, then gets one where he has to mash on all of the buttons to inflate a balloon that will pop and scare a sleeping chicken. Arino wastes no time violently rubbing on the buttons to quickly pump up the balloon, and manages to ace it… perhaps at the expense of his knuckles.

Another stopwatch game is next, and once again, he stops it right at 5"00 even. The next game is a pattern-matching game using slot machine fruit — a pattern is presented, and then Arino has to find it on the grid. It’s like a word search, but with pictures. He clears that one, and then another game; another slide puzzle-type thing (called "Billy Jewel;" groan) where he must get four of a same-colored jewel inside a designated area on a grid. He nearly makes it, but times out and gets another Game Over. Back to stage 1.

The next new game can be a tough one: a sort of "shapes math" game where a table of disjointed shapes is shown along with an "equation" that asks you which shape below corresponds to the "sum" of the equation. Well, just have a look below. Arino completes it perfectly in one try.

The next new game is Ninja Doko-ja, a variation of the hats-and-flowers game where rapidly-teleporting ninjas must be found in a picture once they disappear. Arino doesn’t lose, which is better than expected! Unfortunately, he loses another round of Photo Shock, and gets Game Over again. Perhaps playing on the hardest level isn’t the smartest thing to have done?

Back through stage 1 we go. Arino gets a new game that’s essentially like Simon but with animal sounds: he has to repeat the pattern of meows, moos, and croaks just so to clear the quota. Fortunately, he kicks its butt. The next game is really nuts: Arino has to pick a certain shape according to a series of hints about it scrolling along the bottom of the screen. Eventually, he pushes on through to the last game of stage 3.


We come back to the shapes-and-equations game, and this time, Arino asks us if we can figure it out. So go ahead — which shapes are the answers to these problems?

For what it’s worth, Arino gets all of them right.

Arino finally finishes stage 3 by clearing another frog grid game. And then it’s time for the Final Stage! He has to finish 16 games to clear this one. Sadly, he fails on another frog game, but is pushed ahead to another slide puzzle. The timer is moving pretty fast, so Arino either just barely makes it or quickly loses. Soon he’s thrust into another Block ‘N Roll, but only has six seconds to get the problems right. As you might guess, he doesn’t quite make it, and gets another Game Over. Back to stage 1…

But Arino even fails stage 1, and this is where things are starting to look dire. The challenge has been about six hours now, and by then, AD Takahashi makes an appearance. He tells Arino that he can increase the number of continues in the game. And so, Arino goes back to the options menu and bumps up the continue count to 10 — but still stays with Severe mode, of course.

We jump ahead to the final stage, where Arino aces most of the games. The stopwatch game reappears, and Arino nails it at 4"99. Even with the added pressure of the speedy timer, he seems to be getting the hang of things, nailing the cube-counting game and again running his fingers into nubs with the chicken game.

He’s well within the end of the game, but trips up several times when he re-encounters the dreaded Robot Factory. With one continue left, he almost makes it, but eventually, the pressure does him in, and gets another Game Over. Even with full continues, Tant-R is bearing down.

AD Takahashi returns, and tells Arino there are some near-"quota-less" games that don’t need as mny tries to be finished, as long as he lands on them, anyway. Arino makes it to the final stage again, and comes within five stages of the end. One of the key ones is another stopwatch, but for once, he hits the btuton too early and fails it. Still, the quota is enough for him to go on. He goes on to the fourth-from-last stage, another number pattern game, but with only four seconds given, he fails and gets another Game Over.

Back to the beginning of the final stage. His luck is thrown into jeopardy when he gets the hats-and-flowers game, which is when he’s stopped by producer Kan and offered help from the rest of the staff if he needs it. Fortunately, he clears the game without their help. He gets the stopwatch in the next game, but hilariously hits it at 4"45, not even close.

He enters another hidden-ninja game, but when the staff yells out, they’re mostly wrong. Eventually, though, Arino makes it through that one. He comes within three games of the end, just as close as ever. Another animal-sounds game comes up, and he aces that one, and then another cube-counter, which he also passes.

The last game appears! Arino spots the maze game, one of the key no-quota ones, and nails it! He immediately dashes through the maze, but loses. Still, he comes within the quota and manages to finish the final stage!

The cartoon ending ensues, but there’s one last game to decide Arino’s fate: on a crime map, he must fine the node P6-E9.

He times out, but has one last continue left. This time, it’s P9-E3. Time out again. One more life. This time, P9-F3. The game begins, and this time, the node is right next to his cursor. Well, that was easy. The criminal is captured, and Tant-R is complete!Arino is aked to input his initials, but even manages to time out on that, making his initials "AR0." Well, after 12 hours, Aro-kacho still managed to finish this kooky minigame collection.

TamaGe

Arino is at the Kita shopping street, where the restaurants and food stands are buzzing. Arino starts by getting a kabuto-yaki, an eel skewer, then moves on to get a bean cake. A little energy for the road.

But soon, Arino heads down the street and finds today’s destination: another snack shop, this one called Okashi no Tane-ya. It’s been around for a few decades, and of course, has a Metal Slug game out in front. This time it’s Metal Slug 3.

Arino gets AD Takahashi over to join him in a game. The two mow down the enemy forces, and make it to the stage 2 boss! Takahashi dies, leaving Arino to fend for himself against the circle of one-eyed aliens. But eventually the kacho’s out too.

Next to the video games are the flipper games, and Arino has a go at Catch Ball, a baseball-themed game. He gets his coin safely down to the bottom, and expertly lands it in the final Home Run slot, winniing himself a coucher. Inside, Arino checks out the goodies he can get, then goes to pay. He spots an authograph plate from an AKB singer, then offers hiw own autograph to the lady in charge. He signs the plate, and then the lady asks if this part of a Fuji TV drama. Arino pauses, slightly confused, but then says emphatically, "Yes, a Fuji drama!"

Retro Read-Aloud

Arino and Ms. Nishiyama read a scene from the first Famicom Detective Club, where the hero argues with a lady to get an important file, who then calls the police on you, only to have them tell her he’s allowed to see the file. She’s not happy, but so it goes.

Game Center CX News

A quick report on the Game Center CX charity event in early May, where attendees could donate money, as well as their old DS games to be traded back to the rest of the people.

 

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