Game Center CX Special – Back to Contents
3DS Selection & "Donkey Kong"
Some time ago, Arino checked out a few of the Wii’s Virtual Console games before launching into a full-on series of challenges for several of them. Shortly after that, the Nintendo 3DS was released and got its own Virtual Console games, mostly featuring classic Game Boy games. And with dozens now available, it seems like a good time to get Arino to try some of them.
He opens up the 3DS in front of him, which is loaded with every current Virutal Console game — 40, to be exact. He then expands the view of the list to see all the games at once. He flips through them again, then settles on his first pick: Kirby’s Dream Land. Arino’s quite familiar with Kirby games now, and the original is quite simple. Early on, Arino flips the "classic" color filter on, which makes the game look more like a real Game Boy screen, all greenish and ghosting and everything.
He makes it to the stage 1 boss, Wispy Woods, and very nearly dies, but lands the finishing blow. He moves on through stage 2, but is killed halfway through by an enemy falling on him. He continues, then defeats the next bosses, Lololo and Lalala, and decides to wrap things up there.
Next, Arino tries Metafight EX, a.k.a. Blaster Master: Enemy Below, a Game Boy Color remake-y, sequel-y version of the NES game. He watches the (quite brief) introduction, then begins. He hops the SOPHIA tank around the opening area, then takes the hero out to explore an overhead-view area. While there, he accidentally steps on a patch of spikes and loses the rest of the life. Thaaaat’s about enough of that.
Following that is Qix, the original arcade game brought to Game Boy, and, in a way, already played by Arino before — he tried Volfied, a game also made by Taito and with the same basic gameplay. As before, he just has to claim 75% of the screen, but he tries to get exactly 99% like he did in Volfied. Unfortunately he doesn’t get a big enough area to claim 99% at once — he gets 76% and the game automatically passes him.
Time for a change of pace: a Famicom game! And it’s the original Legend of Zelda, to boot. Arino grabs the sword at the beginning of the game and is pleased by how convenient its beam-shooting ability is, but he soon loses it when he’s hit by an enemy. Soon after, he’s walking around the forest maze and is killed by a Moblin.
After enough messing around, he makes it to the first dungeon level. He grabs the hidden bow weapon pretty early on, but then is killed right where he grabbed it. This could easily be a regular 12-hour challenge on its own, so Arino backs out of Zelda for now.
The next game is the first JaJaMaru Game Boy game, known as Maru’s Mission elsewhere. It’s a standard platformer featuring the little red ninja, and Arino quickly makes it to the end of the first stage to face off against a boar demon. It sticks his head in Arino and flings him around the screen, sucking away his health. Arino just keeps pelting it with shurikens, though, and soon enough, he wins.
He heads to the next half of the first stage and faces the real boss, Ni-Oh. He’s tough at first, but Arino finds a little spot to camp on at lob projectiles. He still gets hit and almost dies — he get sdown to 6 points of health! — but comes through in the end. And that’s it for JaJaMaru.
One more for the pile: Pitman, a.k.a. Catrap. It’s a remake of an old PC puzzle game by the same name (Pitman, that is), and is kind of like a sokoban game in profile. Arino has to knock out all the enemies in a stage, but sometimes they’re perched on the other side of a gap that he needs to fill with a stone block. He gets to the seventh stage, but it’s there he’s finally stumped, as he pushes one block almost too far away from a gap to get to the last enemy. He restarts, then takes care of it perfectly.
After that, he checks the "Round Select" option on the main menu, which lets him select one of all 100 stages. He samples number 98, which is filled with blocks and enemies. That sight is enough for him to give up.
After that, Arino is told the real challenge has not yet begun. He’s presented with Donkey Kong, the 1994 Game Boy reboot, and one of the system’s most celebrated games.
And so, Arino starts up Donkey Kong. It begins much like the original arcade game, with Mario trying to climb up to the top of the girders to rescue Pauline from DK. (Arino thinks Mario looks like Wario, which is understandable considering how he’s colored.) By accident, Arino performs one of Mario’s new moves: a backflip jump that takes him right to the goal.
Arino uses the backflip to blow through stage 2, and make it to the end of the fourth stage, too. Game Over, right? All done! Not quite — Arino discovers that this Donkey Kong game stretches out far past the construction site. He begins the Big City area.
Now, the game involves collecting a key and unlocking the exit door, and that’s just what Arino does in stage 1-1. It’s in 1-2 where he learns the key can be thrown to a ledge and collected later, which helps him finish that stage. After that, a bonus round nets him a 2-Up.
On 1-3, Arino experiments with Mario’s wire-swinging jumps, earns two more lives, then makes his way to the first Donkey Kong midboss fight. Here, he has to make his way back, up, and around to face Donkey Kong. Unsure of what to do exactly, he pulls up the in-game manual, and discovers a neat little trick: he can deflect the debris that DK sends down simply by doing a handstand. Though it’s not a big help for this stage. Nevertheless, he reaches Pauline, but DK just takes her and runs.
In 1-5, Arino is introduced to platform blocks, which can be placed anywhere on the screen and extend a platform to the left and right, creating a bridge wherever it’s needed. Sadly, he places his just high up enough to cause it to disappear right as he gets to the middle of it, and he falls to his death.
On the next stage, the same princple is applied to a ladder block, which lets him climb up to the exit. The next stage is a bit of a pain, only because Arino keeps falling off platforms accidentally. Eventually he gets up to the top where he created a bridge, but once again, he falls off just steps before he makes it to the exit.
Soon enough, Arino makes it to the last stage of the City, which is another fight with DK, of course. This time he has to toss barrels at the big ape to knock him senseless, and thankfully it’s not too hard. The Big City is surmounted, and it only took Arino one hour. Ahem.
He moves ahead to area 2, the Forest, and contends with all the different tricks and traps available in the stages there. He blows through to 2-7, where giant bugs elbow their way through, pushing Arino off ledges (but not towards death, thank goodness).
But the real brain-bender is figuring out how to get the key on the conveyor belt and towards the exit, which is pinched by spikes halfway along. Arino’s so stumped that he starts running out of time. But when he finally realizes what to do — toss the key down, then climb down to grab it when it comes to the other side — he has two seconds left! Amazingly, he hits the exit door with one second left.
He similarly breezes past the rest of the stages and reaches the boss battle, again needing to throw barrels at DK, but hindered by large spring platforms that can send him in the wrong direction. But he soon gets the hang of it, and defeats Donkey Kong for the second time.
Two areas are a good time to wind down, so we’ll say bye to Arino for now. Who knows what other Game Boy challenges await?