Game Center CX Season 9 – Back to Contents
Fight! The Madonna of Sunsoft — "The Wing of Madoola"
Not since Clock Tower has Arino played as a girl in a challenge game before, but this season we have The Wing of Madoola, starring the female knight Lucia. Can Arino help her get through 16 stages and help recover the stolen Wing?
Once Arino opens the box, he sees a flier that was left inside, promoting a special "Sunsoft Music Tape" that players could get if they could note down the secret keyword in stage 8. Something to think about when playing.
The challenge then begins. Stage 1 is unremarkable, but there’s plenty of enemies hopping around. Arino slips into a cave, which holds a single item, the Boots. After exiting, Arino finds another cave that holds a new sword, which simply increases his attacking power.
A third cave leads for a larger underground room, and the music becomes more sinister. Arino guesses it’s time for the boss, and he’s right. A few steps forward and the boss appears: Hoppegg, a hopping… egg. Arino runs past it to the end of the room, but the exit is high up and un-exitable. He has no choice but to engage the egg.
After being hit by an unpredictable hop, Arino squats beside the egg when it stops for a few moments and repeatedly slashes it, and before long it’s gone! The exit is now open, and on the other side of another special item. Arino leaves the way he came, and goes back out to finish stage 1.
Stage 2 begins, but Arino is quickly killed by a crowd of enemies. Game Over! Back to the title screen, and then to the game, where it’s back to square one. Uh-oh. At any rate, Arino pushes forward to stage 2 again, but dies just as quickly. Arino wonders if there’s a continue option. Then, he remembers something AD Nakayama said back when the staff was deciding what games to challenge next. When Madoola was brought up, Nakayama did mention it had a unique continue trick. Arino calls Nakayama over.
Nakayama tells Arino that all it takes is a single button press. "Up?" Arino asks. Nope, says Nakayama. Down? No. Left? Uh-uh. Select? …
It’s not long before Arino dies in stage 2 again, so he gets to use the continue quickly. Pressing Select at the title screen opens the continue screen, where Arino can freely select any of the stages he’s been to. He gets a little further ahead in stage 2, dropping down a waterfall to the next section, but then it’s Game Over again. And then Arino forgets to press Select, instantly starting him all over again. He resets to see if he can still continue, but to no avail.
He gets back to stage 2, but dies again while being chased by pink floating slimes. Eventually, he gets to the end of the stage and to the boss room, but then he runs right into the boss — with what little health he had — and dies again! He uses the continue, but accidentally "continues" back at stage 1. For heaven’s sake. Nakayama tapes down a friendly reminder next to the TV.
Back to the stage 2 boss, Cape Skull. Arino camps right by the entrance, and Skull just repeatedly hops up right next to him. Arino slashes like a madman, and then defeats the boss with nary a scratch. Onto stage 3, then!
Stage 3 is pretty much all underground; a huge mazelike cave with numerous "warp doors" and all sorts of annoying enemies. Arino tries to explore, but often gets grazed by an enemy and is forced to continue.
In a stroke of luck, however, Arino runs into a new section of the stage and enters the boss door. He keeps running down the hall, but it isn’t until the very end that he’s surprised (and hit) by the boss! Arino escapes, but only with 30 health points left. He hesitates, then tries to strike the boss as it jumps, but of course, that only hits Arino, and he dies.
On the next try, Arino only gets hit once, and follows up with multiple blows to finally claim victory. Unfortunately, stage 4 is another creepy cave, though Arino grabs another Boots upgrade early on. After some more exploration, he finds the exit door, but it won’t open — he needs to find and beat the boss first, of course!
Arino heads back and explores the rest of the cave. He finds a door to what looks like a boss room, but at the end is a fountain; a health regenerator. Probably for the best, anyway. Further exploration leads to another small room, where Arino collects… a nose? That’s what it looks like, anyway. Nearby that door is the boos door, and again, Arino immediately runs into the boss and dies.
When he continues, he finds that the "nose" is actually a Magic Bomb that shoots an expanding pillar of fireballs. Arino returns to the boss, and with a stick-and-move technique, defeats it.
Stage 5 seems to go in a flash, as Arino gets the Flame Sword, then quickly finds and defeats the boss. Stage 6 is outdoors again, and features a segmented stone bridge that Arino easily falls through, down to the foot of the waterfall where he must restart. And if it’s not that, it’s those damn slimes chasing him again.
Arino spends over 30 minutes on this stage alone before finally reaching the next section, which is basically the same thing. He falls from the waterfall, only to be warped back to the very start of the stage again. A few more frustrating tries later, and he makes it to the boss door. The boss is a tiny green helicopter thing, and it sticks to the ceiling. Arino decides to use the Magic Bomb, and the pillar of flame it creates toasts the boss after several hits.
Stage 7 is another cave, with a long vertical shaft Arino falls down. He goes over to climb another shaft, but can’t reach it. Back up the previous one, then. He jumps and jumps, but always seems to fall right after the second step. Repeatedly. After a realtime fast-forwarding, Arino is shown escaping from the shaft. Up to the boss door, where — yep, he runs into it and dies.
Arino’s more cautious on the second try, but still fails. On the third, he stays up at the entrance and spams the Magic Bomb again. It’s slow-going, but it works! The boss continues to stupidly pace back and forth, and then Arino finishes it off with the Flame Sword.
Stage 8′s boss is a hop-happy orb called Bunyon. After one failed try, Arino goes with the same technique as last time, since the room is designed the same way. The staff laughs as Arino simply keeps using the Magic Bomb. Another easy victory.
But before leaving stage 8, Arino remembers the secret message that could get him a Sunsoft cassette! He explores the rest of the stage, and enters another health-fountain room (minus the fountain). The screen quickly blips to black, saying "THE KEYWORD IS" and then a brief flash of the message. Arino misses it. He reenters the room, but nothing happens.
But hey, this is all being recorded, after all. Arino gets out of his chair and steps around to the back corner, where VE Fukawa is watching the tape. Fukawa rewinds and Arino gets the keyword(s): "It’s a cat!" Well, then. Maybe Sunsoft still has some cassettes left?
Stage 9 begins, but Arino dies quickly. The title screen comes up, and… he screws up. He misses the continue, and starts at stage 1 with nothing. "Nowww I’ve gone and done it." Indeed.
We’re spared the long journey back to stage 9 — it takes two hours for Arino to return, and then he quickly defeats the boss. Stage 10 is brief, too, and there Arino picks up a crucifix item.
Arino defeats the boss in stage 11 with little incident, but finding a way out is harder, as he repeatedly dies in the mazelike stage. Stage 12 is just plain treacherous: a long vertical climb up a bunch of not-so-big platforms. One slip and it’s back to the bottom. Needless to say, it happens often. After several deaths, Arino is clearly feeling the pain. He goes back to the title screen. He continues, but accidentally goes to stage 1. No big deal, he still has everything.
Reset. Start– no wait! Arino reels, closing his eyes tight to escape from reality. He did it again, even after having a sign and two sticky notes on the TV to remind him. Two more hours are required to get back to stage 12.
He needs conditioning. Producer Kan steps in and puts up a big, bright sign on the whiteboard. Every time Arino dies, he has to abide by the small script on the board; an exchange between him, Nakayama and cameraman Abe that goes through the motions of the correct button presses.
It’s not long before Arino dies, and he’s put through the embarrassing ritual. And then he dies again. Arino keeps a smile on, but slaps the wall. None of this makes stage 12 any easier, since he keeps on slipping and falling. Another hour passes. After another death, Nakayama asks Arino if the drilling has stuck in his head. Arino says yes, so hopefully there won’t be any more crucial mistakes.
He needs more maximum health to stay alive in stage 12, so Nakayama comes and offers to play through stages 10 and 11 to get a bit more health. Arino lets him sit down, and Nakayama gets Arino up to 2350 HP for stage 12.
Arino gets through the climbing part of the stage, but there’s more to go. After dangerously sprinting through the gauntlet of enemies, Nakayama leads Arino to the boss door. But… it’s empty? That’s right, says Nakayama. It was all a ruse! Sheesh.
Arino makes it to the real boss door, and the enemy is a huge snake man. Arino doesn’t last long, of course. Another death means Nakayama must go back through the last two stages for more health. By the time Arino takes control again for stage 12, he’s chased by pink slimes, and constantly slips all the way back down to the beginning again. And it happens once more. And again, and again.
When Arino finally reaches the boss again, he only has 460 HP! Arino switches to the crucifix, and its smart bomb-like capability blasts the snake man away in no time, and with little damage to Arino. Finally, stage 12 is done.
Stage 13 is less difficult, and Arino blasts that stage’s boss away with the crucifix, too. Arino then speeds through stage 14, but dies on 15. Sensing danger, Nakayama puts Arino through the continue drill just in case. The snake man returns for stage 15, but that’s a story already told. The final stage awaits! But then, Nakayama comes in. Without giving away too much, he tells Arino he needs at least 2000 magic points before getting to the boss, and must try to save at least 1000 after that.
Stage 16 has a long shaft with floods of pink slimes, and Arino starts by chopping them all as they fly in. But he gets bored of that and decides to make a run for it. Up the shaft, into the wrong passage, and back through again… all while being chased by the slimes. After finding the right passage, Arino leaps up and grabs a large golden item. The music changes. Arino doesn’t know what to do.
Nakayama tells him to hold Down while pressing the jump button. So he does, and Lucia begins to float upward. He tries it a few times, and then it stops working. And then Arino realizes his magic is at zero. Nakayama tells Arino to reset. Turns out that big fancy item was the Wing of Madoola, and using its floating power once consumes 1000 MP. And since the only way to the boss is up, that’s why Arino needs at least 1000 points. He resets, and tries the stage again.
This time, he floats up to the boss. He gets cold feet and goes back down, this time equipping the crucifix. Once again he faces the boss, Darutos. Darutos rains fireballs on Arino, but he just stands there and hammers on the attack button. The crucifix wipes out the boss. And then… nothing. Nakayama returns. As mentioned, Arino needs 1000 MP after the boss, too, in order to fly up and finally get to the ending. You know what that means: reset! Again!
Arino gets back up and near Darutos, with 3000 MP left. The crucifix takes 500 each blast, and four are needed to kill Darutos. Arino leaps over, and carefully blasts the boss each time he sees it. One… two, three… four! And with 1000 MP to spare! The crowd goes wild! Here’s hoping he doesn’t screw up the flying!
Up we go and into the exit door… Lucia rescues her prince, and Arino’s job is over! The end of season 9 draws ever closer.
Arino heads to a more crowded part of Tokyo this time to visit the Shakujii Kouen Stationfront Center. It’s small, but popular, not to mention up-to-date.
In fact, right up front is Tekken 6, which Arino sits down with first. He has AD Nakayama join him for a couple of rounds. As Bryan, Arino miraculously beats Nakayama in the first round. Nakayama gets revenge in the next, but then Arino ends up winning the whole thing. Nakayama has little to say.
Arino leaves Nakayama to play Tekken while he checks out the rest of the arcade. Next up is Irem’s Bomberman World, where Arino starts off well, but eventually falls to his own bomb. And then there’s…
… Mushihime-sama Futari, Cave’s recent shoot-em-up. Arino goes in head-first, selecting the Ultra difficulty, and dies in less than two minutes. He goes one level down into Maniac mode, and manages to get up to and defeat the first boss (after spending a couple of credits)! But the spectacle of all those bullets and big bosses did the opposite of relaxing him.
Arino returns to the Tekken 6 corner, where Nakayama has reached the final boss. It’s tense for Arino, but not so much for Nakayama, it seems. He deftly defeats the boss and the two men watch the credits roll. The first ending seen on a TamaGe trip!
Famicom Manga Café
This time Arino reads Dennou Boy (Cyber Boy), a manga about — get this — a kid with superhuman game-playing powers. One of the first stories involves the introduction of the Super Famicom, and Dennou Boy’s attempts to win a Super Mario World tournament. His controller is knocked out of his hands at a critical point in a boss battle, but he does a super dramatic backflip and saves himself!
Game Collections: 1989: February