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 Special – Back to Contents
Game Center CX in USA: Arino-Kacho Goes to Los Angeles

Sometimes life works out in funny ways. Since 2007, this episode guide has chronicled nearly all of Arino’s adventures, and for most of that, as I was living in the Bay Area, I would sort of wish in the back of my head that it would be cool if the show ever went to some of the places I knew around San Francisco. And then, years later, here we are: Arino and crew going from northen to southern California on a game-infused adventure, checking off more than a few of my wishes all in one go. Yep, life sure is funny.

San Francisco | Los Angeles | Challenge: RoboCop

San Francisco

We find Arino on a hill overlooking the famous Golden Gate Bridge, which is characteristically covered in fog. He’d love to be more energetic, but he didn’t get any sleep on the flight due to a talkative old man. The trip begins here because the Bay Area has a few notable game-related attractions of its own. The first is in the equally famous Fisherman’s Wharf. As Arino walks to his destination, a garcon outside a restaurant yells "konnichiwa" to him and the crew. At least it’s a friendly start.

The first place on the itinerary is the Musee Mechanique, a more than 40 year-old arcade inside a warehouse at the Wharf’s Pier 45. As the name suggests, it’s also part museum, with dozens of arcade games and other amusements long before "video games" were a thing, and all playable by the public. But before Arino heads inside, he’s given his "survival kit:" like when he went to Korea, he’s given money — a couple stacks of good ol’ American quarters — and a set of English phrasecards. One is a translation of "which episode of Game Center CX is your favorite?" Arino answers it himself with "Ninja Gaiden." Well that– that’s not what it’s–

One of the first items that catches his eye is an old-timey viewfinder that purports to show you "what the belly dancer does on her day off." However, he’s quickly pulled over to another viewfinder that has 3D pictures of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. After Arino has a look, camerman Abe pokes the camera down inside to have a quick look at the photos within. It’s just like a Nintendo 3DS! Kind of!

Another exhibit is a giant diorama called "End of the Trail," depicting a old broken wagon of some unlucky explorers. Arino puts in a quarter, but it doesn’t seem to do much except blow some wind on the tattered wagon cover. He’s then given a message by the staff that says yep, that’s about it!

Next to that is a ghastly-looking mannequin in a case. Arino takes one look at the woman and likens her to former AD Watanabe. She’s actually called Laughing Sal, though, and that’s exactly what she does, along with leaning forward repeatedly. And next to THAT is another (though smaller) scary woman in a case, in a machine called "Grandmother Predictions." The titular grandmother moves around a bit, then dispenses a slip of paper with your fortune on it. Mr. Nori, the show’s coordinator, reads it for Arino, and it says he’s the easily excitable type. No, says Arino, that’s not him at all.


Continuing down the hall, the next machine is an actual game: "Knock Out Fighters," from 1928. Essentially a prototypical Rock ‘Em-Sock ‘Em Robots, two players grab gun-like control sticks and try to wallop the opposing fighter in the glass case. Arino pulls in Kibe-kun, also on this trip, to play against him. both men push their little fighter "guns" in and out as they wail on each other, and after a while, Arino’s fighter falls backward, signifying a win. It was also kind of rough on Arino’s fingers.

And now, the first video game in the building, and chronologically close to the first video game ever: its’ Midway’s "Winner IV" from 1973; a Pong clone with four paddle dials on the panel allowing doubles games. Arino and Kibe play it, but Arino realizes you have to put in more coins if you want to control all four paddles. The game begins proper, and both players try to do their best controlling their paddles and bouncing the ball back. It’s tense, but Kibe pulls ahead and wins 15-11.

Down the way from that game is an old mechanical arm wrestling game from 1970. The sculpted masked wrestler permanently extends his hand out, inviting all challengers. You can choose the strength level, so Arino goes with "heavyweight," the most difficult. The bell dings, and he quickly loses. He then calls over camerman Abe, whose days of wild youth probably included a few arm wrestling matches. He confidently walks up to the machine, but is also quickly pummeled. Oof!

Arino tries some more machines, like "Kicker and Catcher," a small ball-and-pins challenge, and "Whirl-Wind," a 1957 medal game that isn’t too far removed from all the old "flipper" games Arino has played back in Japan. You shove a ball up into the multi-ringed board and see if it will land on any ring better than zero. At first, Arino gets exactly zero, then 60. Not bad.

Then, Arino has some real excitement when he sits down on the electricty-less massage chair. He cautiously drops a quarter in, then starts yelling as the vibrations of the chair travel all over him. Whether it’s relaxing is a question left unanswered.

And then it’s time to check out the back half of Musee Mechanique, where the games start to get a little more modern. Arino walks back and reaches two compact Skee-Ball machines. One young woman is already playing, but gets invited to play against Arino on the other machine. Arino does his best to roll the balls up into the Skee-Ball rungs, and ends up getting 200 points, whereas the woman got 140. Arino wins, and the woman says she gives up. She doesn’t seem very happy about the outcome, but Arino’s mocking laughter probably doesn’t help. As she shuffles away, Arino pulls out his phrasecards and yells "have a nice day!" She cheered up a little, maybe.

As a break in the action, Arino meets the manager of the Musee Mechanique, Dan Zelinsky. Arino asks about the origin of the place, and Dan recalls the story of his father, who began collecting amusement machines when he was a boy in the ’30s, and started his own little penny arcade amongst his friends. A few decades and several dozen machines later, the Musee Mechanique opens its doors. Arino then asks if "End of the Trail" is popular — indeed it is, but Arino suggests it could maybe use some stronger air blowing in there. Dan can only laugh in agreement. It used to be in storage before people wanted it brought back!

Finally, we reach the back of the Mechanique, where all the video games are. This selection is as much of a museum as the stuff up front: there’s a suite of video games from the ’70s, and ’80s and ’90s are here. The first one Arino notices is Atari’s "Sprint 2" from 1976 — mostly because he remembers it playing it when he was a kid! The monochrome racing game is a simple several-lap challenge over a few tracks, but Arino can barely get through the first one. Nostalgic as it is, he just keeps crashing into the walls and loses.

Next to that is Robotron 2084, which Arino keeps calling "2004" (blame the logo). Williams’ classic dual-joystick shooter is easy to grasp, but can get progressively harder. Arino gets through a couple of stages, and generally enjoys himself. After that is Atari’s legendary Star Wars arcade game, with its awesome vector graphics. This one seems to be on the fritz, though, because the first stage is kind of a mess of vector lines, but Arino makes it to the second section of the game, the Death Star assault, and also enjoys himself until he crashes into a turret and loses.

The next game is a doozy: Uncle Fester’s Shock Machine, an endurance test where you grab one of the metal handles on the panel and Uncle Fester "shocks" for you a minute or two or you let go, whichever comes first. (And not with real electricity, just super high-velocity vibrations). Arino gets Kibe again for this one, but as soon as it starts, the two of them jump right off of it. Oh, come on! They go for another round, both pretty scared, but this time hold on after it starts. Arino and Kibe scream with every ratcheting up of intensity, holding each other’s free hand until finally, Kibe lets go. He’s very apologetic, and Arino’s dismayed when he sees they only had about two more notches to go before winning.

After a total of three hours at the Musee Mechanique, Arino’s spent nearly all his quarters. He was intrigued by Laughing Sal and the boxing game, but it’s time to go. We then see Arino a little further down the wharf, when he’s greeted by a familiar face: AD Inoue, Inoko MAX! (Actually just "D" now!) Draped in a much-too-large and tacky San Francisco shirt, he’s here to point out some of the immediate attractions from this vantage point. He tries to get Arino to look at Alcatraz, but Arino just points at his shirt, since it’s on there. After that little comedy bit, Arino finally looks over at Alcatraz, the famous former prison island. A few paces away is another famous SF sight: harbor seals.

But time is short, and besides, it’s time to eat! Arino and the crew head to a local Wharf eatery, Nick’s Lighthouse, and have themselves a lovely meal of crab, shells and pasta. And some chowder on the side.

With the Wharf sufficiently conquered, it’s time to head deeper into the city. Right in San Francisco’s Union Square is where Arino is headed next. He heads up Stockton Street, and is distracted by the Hannspree store and its selection of "designer" LCD TVs. Unfortunately his window shopping is cut short by the producer, who sternly asks him to keep going. But then Arino notices some pants on the ground and wonders if it came from an apartment above. He’s glared at once more by a visibly unamused producer Kan.

But it’s not much farther to the next destination, a recent addition to the city: South Town Arcade, a small place right next to the Stockton tunnel that has nothing but Japanese-style arcade machines, and is a haven for local fighting game enthusiasts. But the first things that catch Arino’s eye are Metal Slug and Double Dragon.

Nevertheless, fighting games are the draw, and Arino goes ahead and sits down at the arcade’s Super Street Fighter IV setup. There’s already another player, Joshua, so this, of course, means it’s time for a one-on-one. Arino goes with his trusty Dhalsim while Joshua goes with Crimson Viper. Arino spits Yoga Fires as best he can, but Joshua soon combos him into submission. The next round is no different, and the match is over. Or is it? Arino drops in another quarter, his pride still strong. However, all the button mashing in the world can’t save Arino from someone who’s been at this longer. At the end of the match, Arino tries to save face by pulling out the phrasecards and explaining to his opponent that he’s "tired because of long trip."

Arino then goes up and meets one of the owners of the arcade, Arturo. But right after introductions, Arino notices the Hard Gay version Pop-Up Pirate toy on a shelf. The obvious jokes about San Francisco will be withheld here. More to the point, Arino asks what game would be good to play, and then he and Arturo head to the Metal Slug machine, because it’s not an episode of GCCX without Metal Slug.

Arino takes the player 1 spot as Marco, and Arturo is Tarma as P2. Together they get through stage 1, but early in stage 2 Arturo loses all his lives, leaving Arino to fend for himself. Well, it happens. They get back together, so to speak, but then Arino falls out of play and Arturo is left to fight the next boss. He doesn’t survive, but it was nonetheless a fun time.

Arino’s time in San Franciso has come to an end, but not necessarily his time in NorCal. He and the crew pack into a van and drive about an hour east towards the town of Antioch. What’s way out there, you ask? Why, a dedicated video game store: 4Jays, which deals in used video games of old. Their shelves are packed with games from every era, but naturally most of it is NES and Super NES games. Arino strolls right in and observes the selection, but then notices Kibe’s way ahead of him, browsing on his own. Kibe points out two monitors each running an NES and Super NES, perhaps the first time they’ve seen them in person.

They’re then allowed to step back behind the counter and see what it’s like to run the store. For Arino, it’s a pretty cool feeling. After browsing the wares a little more, Arino goes over to the owner and his daughter Jody and asks what games "are popular in USA." And then, of course, how tired he is because of "long trip." Well, in this store, the Super NES is most popular. Arino’s then directed to check out a game from the front display case and picks out a bright red Super NES cartridge — Doom, the seminal FPS.

They start it up on the demo monitor, but it doesn’t display correctly. Thinking it needs cleaning, the game is given to Don, the owner, who swabs it with Windex. But it still doesn’t look right after the title screen fades out. Maybe it had to do with the Super FX chip inside.


Kibe has plenty more games to try, though. Next is Klax for the NES, from Tengen. It’s a fairly simple puzzle game, and Arino gets through the first stage. But then Kibe wants to see Slalom, the first NES game by Rare, and pretty impressive for the time, since it used some nice, smooth graphics tricks. Arino puts it in, but then has to contend with the infamous NES blinking screen for a bit, but gets it running. However, he finds the game a bit too easy, almost boring. Well, Kibe thought it would be better based on the label.

Lastly, Arino tries Sunset Riders on the Super NES, and Jody joins in, as well. They’re soon stopped by a barrier, but Arino figures out how to hold Up and jump, and shows Jody how to do it as well. They do well after that, but later, Jody accidentally tosses a sstick of dynamite that gets them both blown up! Oh well. Kibe and Arino finish up by browsing the games some more.

For their last meal in the Bay Area, Arino and the crew head to a Humphrey’s restaurant, and Arino gets a "New York Steak" slathered in a mushroom sauce. From here, it’s onward to Los Angeles, where more gaming awaits, as well as more GCCX fans!

Los Angeles

A drive from Fresno to LA opens the next day of the trip, and around the middle of the day, Arino and Inoue stop at a nearby In-N-Out Burger. As expected, it’s pretty tasty, and if Arino’s being honest, that steak last night wasn’t as great as he thought. But the burger…!

Back on the road, and another stop on a dirt road to shoot the segment bumper, as well as have a race among the staff. Arino doesn’t come in last, but it mustn’t have been a great experience for everybody considering the heat and the lack of sleep. But finally, Arino arrives in Hollywood, right in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, where the tourists hang out and get photos with costumed characters, including a low-rent Spider-Man who leaps into frame and spits out some basic Japanese. Again, at least they’re friendly.

The next stop is certainly an odd one: Inoue directs Arino to a laundromat in a strip mall. Why? Because it actually has a couple of arcade games in it. Well, it’s not like this adventure has been normal or anything, and it is a different setup than the typical Japanese "coin laundry." Inoue continues to give Arino a mini-tour of the laundromat, to see how salt-of-the-earth Americans clean their clothes in this day and age. (Kind of.) But then they go to the arcade games: first, Ms. Pac-Man, staple of laundromats and convience stores in America for nearly 30 years. This particular machine seems to have been tweaked to start at a high level, as Ms. Pac-Man moves super fast and the ghosts don’t stay neutralized long after getting a power pellet. Suprisingly, after completing two stages, Arino gets the high score on the machine!

Next to Ms. Pac-Man is a NeoGeo cabinet with The King of Fighters ’97. Arino and Inoue have a match, but thankfully for Arino, he’s not playing against a well-practiced player this time, so he deftly whups Inoue’s team of fighters. Inoue proposes a bet, and Arino says Inoue should take off his shirt and wash it if he loses. Well, that’s just what happens, and Inoue pulls off his shirt and dumps it in the wash. Now shirtless, Inoue asks Arino for another round at the game.

But as the day goes on, we’re closer to the fan event that evening. We join Arino standing in front of the famous Hollywood sign, where he’s asked how many fans he think will show up. He guesses abou 50, but if there’s 4 or 5, then he can at least take them all out for dinner. That evening, Arino enters the shopping mall in LA’s Little Tokyo, and approaches Japan Arcade, the scene of the fan event. There’s definitely a crowd waiting, already taking pictures and video as Arino walks up to the entrance. Finally, he enters, and to thunderous applause and cheers. He heads to the back, high-fiving along the way, and grabs a megaphone.

Of course, Arino opens by stating he’s tired… because of long trip. Right. The crowd is very receptive, though. "Do you know the kacho?!" He yells. "Yes!" the crowd cheers back. Again, "do you know the kacho?!" Yes!! Again! "YEA!!"

The event then moves on to the meet-and-greet. A lengthy line of fans stretches out of the arcade, and one by one, people go up to give Arino gifts, get something signed, or just shake hands. (They are also given GCCX stickers and other trinkets.) One fan presents Arino and the staff with poster prints of amazing fan art by comics artist Nina Matsumoto. They’re duly impressed, and amused, since the picture features Arino, Abe, Inoko MAX, and the squishy pig from Korea, among other little references. Another fan, Alex the 4th, even wrote and performed a song in tribute to Arino!

Arino even has a groupie, as proven by the very excited woman that comes up to Arino squealing her heart out, hugging the man, and even getting a couple of funny pictures. God bless her.

And then, to further prove that American GCCX fans can be just as passionate as Japanese ones, up walks… me, Ray! Yes, I was there in (one of) my Japanese unforms, the same kind Arino wears, though the alternate blue one from season 4, sort of as a sign of true fandom. I exchange business cards with Arino, introducing myself not as a kacho but as a "shuunin" (asst. manager) from the "American division" of Game Center CX. In a separate interview, I briefly explain how long I’ve been a GCCX fan and how I got the uniform in the first place.

We then get comments from the other fans, saying why they like the show ("he’s not very good at video games!") and what their favorite episodes are (Mighty Bomb Jack and Lemmings are mentioned — you all have good taste!). Arino wasn’t the only popular one, either — cameraman Abe got to sign things, and director/former AD Urakawa joined in a Street Fighter match. And as for Inoko MAX’s humongous tacky shirt, it got covered in signatures and notes from all the fans. Two hours later, Arino says goodbye. All in all, an incredible affirmation that love of Game Center CX can easily cross borders.

Later, we find Arino and Inoue after the event. Arino sees a "Ralph" signed on Inoue’s shirt and makes a Ralph Lauren joke. But how about the final fan tally? An astounding 150-plus people came out to see Arino, definitely outdoing his prediction. (Would’ve been nice to go out to dinner, though.) If Arino ever wants to come back to America, you know he’ll be welcome.

Challenge

Breaking up the travel segments of the show is a special game challenge back at GCCX HQ in Tokyo. It begins with Arino and producer Kan having an "English" conversation ("Good morning, Retro Game Master Arino!" "Oh yes, good morning!" "How about your condition?" "Very… cute!" The challenge game this time is not purebred American, but it’s based on an American favorite: RoboCop! The 8-bit port of the arcade game was released in 1988 by Data East, though Arino is, somewhat unfortunately, not playing this on an NES; just a trusty Japanese Famicom as usual. He must take the law-enforcing cyborg through six treacherous stages of dystopian Detroit. Objectively short, but more difficult than it lets on.

Stage 1 begins, along with the pleasant rendition of the movie’s main theme, and Arino learns the controls. Except that RoboCop can’t do much but walk and punch at this point in the stage. He mows down some thugs, and then RoboCop pulls out his gun. Arino can now shoot enemies with the A button, which is a big help in getting through to the end. When he does, he faces the first boss, a big burly dude who apparently is impervious to bullets. He gets close to Arino, who then starts slinging punches, but the boss keeps getting his hits in first, and before long, Arino loses. Thus, the big annoyance about RoboCop the game: you only get one life, and continuing takes you back to the start of the stage you were at.

Arino restarts the game from the beginning, and makes a beeline back to the boss. This time he manages to catch the boss in a flurry of punches without retaliation, and in less than a minute, stage 1 is done! Stage 2 takes place during night, where criminals with flamethrowers assault Robo-Arino from above. He then moves inside a fancy building where yet more thugs zoom in from the sides. Doors inside lead to all sorts of secret rooms that are either empty or hold power-ups. Arino continues apace, but then runs into an enemy that’s just like the first boss, and he’s unfortunately pummeled again.

Arino goes back through the stage, and enters a mysterious room. He walks to the end of it, but then a spiked wall on wheels comes towards him! He manages to punch it enough to destroy it, but then is confused as to what to do next. Another spike-wall comes at him, but this time he can’t fend it off, and is killed once more. He goes back one more time, and this time checks the manual to get any hints.

Ah, but first, he’s distracted by the snacks to his left. The snack basket has a bunch of food from America this time, including "Cheese Curls," Combos, M&Ms, caramel corn, and a can of Coca-Cola… which Arino opens and takes a sip of, only to discover it’s lukewarm. Ew.

Anyway, back to the manual… Arino reads up on the "Functions" display in the lower-right of the game screen. It shows four of RoboCop’s abilities, which will blink in an area that they’re meant to be used in. In the case of this puzzling room, it was the scanner, punch, and boss detector that were going off. The scanner indicates that there’s a weak wall around that can be destroyed — in other ones, the one that the spike-wall presses Arino against.

After destroying a couple of those spike-walls, Arino goes over and starts punching the wall at the end of the room. It’s destroyed! And the next room is the boss, who is unfortunately also shielding himself with a hostage — the mayor! Arino just can’t fire at will, or else his energy will be cut off harshly. But he does anyway, and dies with a quickness. The Game Over screen appears, but nothing happens after a button press. It seems the game has tragically frozen up! Still, it was only on the second stage, so it’s not a genuine tragedy yet. Arino traverses through the beginning of the game once again.

At the second attempt with the second boss, Arino notices that the boss’ hostage ducks periodically, but very briefly at that, so his timing with the gun has to be very precise. But Arino gets too close to the boss and ends up dying again. On the third try, he starts to get it: he stays crouched, and rises up to shoot the boss when it’s appropriate. But then the boss lets go of the hostage, who runs to the rear, and Arino accidentally shoots him! Another untimely death!

And then Arino messes up and chooses "Start" instead of "Continue!" It’s once again back to stage 1. We jump back to the stage 2 boss, though, and this time, Arino survives long enough to keep the hostage safe and then finally get rid of the boss. Now, on to stage 3, which takes place in a factory. Here, Arino grabs the machine gun, keeps going, but takes one too many hits from the oncoming enemies and dies again. He’s more careful on the second run, making sure to kill enemies more efficiently, but then the stage gets a little bit mazelike, and Arino wants to go back through and get the power-ups he missed. He’s stopped by another burly enemy, and before long, he dies again — but this time from a Time Over. RoboCop’s secondary method to stay alive is to collect the energy capsules to keep the "T" meter filled up, but too much lollygagging can prevent that.

Eventually, after another go, Arino makes it to the next boss, another snakey boss that also has his henchmen leap around and make things difficult for our hero. Arino shoots wildly around the room, but with just a few bars of energy left, he pauses the game and checks the manual for an overview of the guns he’s collected. He switches to the Cobra rifle, but it only had a few bullets, so he’s forced to switch to the machine gun. But by the time he unpauses again, he’s clipped by an enemy for the last time.

And at the next Game Over screen, the game freezes again! At this point, AD Takahashi appears, and lets Arino know that the game has a code that will help him along. See, it turns out the number of continues are finite, and the game didn’t actually freeze because of a glitch, but because it was simply tapped out. Takahashi gives him the infinite continues code — A+B+Select at the Game Over screen — and Arino does indeed continue from where he left off.

He re-engages the third boss, and wastes no time with the machine gun. Unfortunately he dies in between switching to the Cobra, again! He uses the continue code again to stay in the game, saying to himself that if the game freezes, he can’t possibly do an infamous Arino "continue miss" where he accidentally restarts the game. But of course, five minutes later, after dying another time, he does exactly that. He had pressed Start along with Select the next time, skipping the game ahead to the "Start" menu selection and restarting the entire thing.

Once again Arino reaches the stage 3 boss, and sticks with the machine gun to mow down thugs. It does the trick, because he clears out the last enemies with ease, and then it’s on to stage 4. Here, the enemies are more mechanical; sentry robots and the like. A particularly nasty electrical trap causes trouble early on, but not nearly as much as the flame-spewing turretsthat take off large chunks of energy. Everything in here seems like a trap. Arino does make it through eventually, though, and then meets the boss, the towering ED-209! And he stomps right through Arino.

All Arino has to do is shoot ED’s big gun, but he’s also too close to the boss, getting big chunks of energy taken off whenever ED retaliates. Eventually Arino learns to stick and move, and finishes off ED before he’s finished.

Stage 5 begins, and it’s the run-down industrial area overrun by the villain Clarence Boddicker and his thugs. It’s not too challenging, so we jump ahead to the boss fight against Clarence, who hops all around the screen firing at the slower-moving Arino. He’s taken out pretty quickly, thanks also to the metal bars that are being dropped on him every few seconds. The stress increases as Arino puts on a cold pad, and we enter the ninth attempt. He relies on shooting Clarence at an angle, which seems to work, but he’s still killed by the falling metal. Past the 13th attempt, as he goes back through the stage, Arino lucks into "harvesting" Cobra guns and ammo from respawning enemies, giving himself a small smorgasboard of firepower. Or so he thought — the Cobra maxes out at six bullets, so he has to make the boss fight count.

He doesn’t — Clarence still wipes him out thanks to low health. The deaths and attempts rack up, and Arino goes past the two-hour mark on this one stage. Finally, on the 28th try, Arino waits for Clarence to jump down to ground level, where he’s then blasted with Cobra fire. Arino expends the ammo, leaving him with the pistol, but just keeps pelting Clarence while staying in the same corner. It works! Clarence finally falls, and the final stage awaits!

Stage 6 begins on a conveyor belt, of all things, and he’s immediately assaulted by attack choppers. How is he supposed to progress? By brute force, of course. Arino starts fighting back at the choppers as much as he can while also destroying the barrels that stand in his way, and before long he’s past the conveyor belt and on solid, motionless ground again. Then, Arino makes it inside the OCP headquarters, fights some more burly guys, shoots down robot turrets, but is killed by one of those giant flamethrower turrets, which also now lobs grenades at him.

Another attempt, and the same result. Back in stage 4, he had no problem, but this time, Arino realizes that he needs to stay way, way back, crouch, and fire at will. That takes care of that, but then he’s killed by a trap laser turret in the ceiling. He does get past that, though, and then takes the elevator up to the next floor. Oops, dead from regular enemies. He makes it to the boss — a supercharged ED-209 — then dies within a second. Painful stuff!

Arino is then caught in a death loop against that burly enemy right before the boss. The challenge reaches its seventh hour, and the rain starts pouring hard in Tokyo. AD Takahashi re-enters, saying "What’s up?" In English. After a pin drops, he apologizes, then gives Arino a reminder that even if he does get to the boss again, he’s going to need plenty of time left on the meter — at least seven bars. So, to help out, Takahashi sits next to Arino and "navigates" for him. When Arino gets back to the burly guy, Takahashi has him pause so he can relay his winning technique: move forward and the enemy will double back, leaving an opening to enter the door to the boss.

It works! Arino makes it to the boss with several bars on the time meter… but none on the health meter. Takahashi tells Arino to keep going anyway, since Arino has the Cobra. He fires a couple times at the boss, but then he’s immediately killed. Takahashi’s done all he can, so he leaves Arino to himself. He makes it back to ED-209, with a whole two bars of health this time! He only has the pistol, though, and even though he’s being careful, he’s still killed quickly. If there’s any bright side, it’s that this ED-209 can be killed the same way as the first one.

On the next try, Arino makes it to the boss with respectably large time and health meters, so this is a BIG CHANCE, according to the narrator. Arino does the stick-and-move, walking up to the boss, firing, then walking back when it approaches… but he’s a bit too slow and is killed again! Fifth attempt: same approach, and this time, he gets the boss down to two bars of health. So close, but the time meter runs out just before the finishing shot is fired!

Arino enters a slump, and the attempts go past the count of 20. But not too far: on the 21st attempt, Arino gets ED back down to one bar, and manages to deal the last shot with plenty of his own health and just two bars on the time meter! The ending cinema plays out similarly to the movie, where the OCP president Jones is gunned down. After a little over 9 hours, Arino finishes RoboCop with flying colors. Specifically, red, white and blue.

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