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 10 – Back to Contents
#70
つかもうぜ!「ドラゴンボール神龍の謎」
Grab ‘Em Up! "Dragon Ball: Shenron no Nazo"

Chousen

Season 9 wasn’t the smoothest of rides for GCCX; it wasn’t even all challenges. But season 10 quickly followed, with two more episodes than last time and a hopefully-always-healthy Arino back in the chair. This time, he’s tasked with finishing Bandai’s original Dragon Ball game for the Famicom (retooled and released in America as Dragon Power). Taking bits from the original manga and anime, the game is still a pretty simple action game. Or does it just look like it?

This being a new season, Arino guesses that there will probably be a new AD to go along with it. But that will come later — for now, he plugs in Dragon Ball and starts the game.

Stage 1 begins, and after clearing the first screen, Arino walks into a corner and comes upon a secret room! It’s filled with Hoi Poi Capsules, themselves filled with powerups like food and (more importantly) a sword to double Goku (Arino)’s attack power.

It’s not long before Arino enters a door halfway through the stage and meets the midboss, who swings a big sword. All Arino has to do, though, is get up close and start whacking at it, and the boss is gone in no time. The stage continues. A fallen enemy drops another capsule, and inside are… panties! And their awesome benefit is making Goku run faster. Sweet.

Arino makes it to the second boss — the real one — and goes for the same tactic as last time, but this time the Red Ribbon soldier isn’t as weak, and cuts Arino down in a matter of seconds. Game Over! Goku’s health is a numeric value at the top of the screen that starts at 100 — get to zero and it’s all over. The twist: it always ticks down a point every couple of seconds, making speed and survival super important in this game. Arino makes it back to the boss, but dies in the same way. On the next try, he picks up a slice of cake that boosts his health to 117.

Later, Arino gets his health up to 140, but then, an interstitial immediately pops up where Bulma pelts Goku with a few bullets. After that, Arino’s health is down to 60! And it’s still ticking down! With that much health, he goes on to the boss again, and after some instense fighting, Arino defeats the guardian with 30 health points to spare.

After a third and final part of the stage, Arino-Goku meets up with the wise Kame-sennin (Master Roshi). But just like in the manga, he wants something before he can help, and Bulma takes one for the team by showing her panties. The game gets around this by just showing a ring of panties floating around the old man. That pretty much wraps up stage 1.

Stage 2 involves the search for Oolong, the shapeshifting pig. Arino enters a dungeon with multiple dummies inside. Striking them can lead him to Oolong, but some are fake, and if he does uncover Oolong, he has to chase him down. A few failed attempts go by, but when Arino enters a different room, he finds Oolong in a pot. Another Dragon Ball is acquired, and that ends stage 2!

The desert of stage 3 leads Arino to find the skilled fighter Yamcha, but he’s a tricky one: he jumps over Arino’s head often, making it hard to land hits. A well-timed jump kick from Yamcha ends Arino’s life quickly… again. Arino feels the pain, going up against Yamcha more than 12 times with no success, taking more than an hour in the process.

On one attempt, Arino goes back through the stage and picks up another hidden weapon, and that helps out a lot: Yamcha falls in just a few seconds after Arino’s constant strikes.

But of course, the actual stage isn’t finished yet. Unforunately, Arino’s health is already near zero, and he doesn’t find food fast enough before dying. He takes a breather, which is a good time for the AD to come in. The new AD this time is — ! Oh, it’s Nakayama again. Well, good; he’s been the best one in a while, anyway. Nakayama hands Arino a special Jump Comics handbook filled with strategies for games based on Jump properties, including Dragon Ball.

He then gives him a Namahage cheesecake-in-a-box as a snack. Speaking of cakes, Arino checks the book and notices it suggests collecting cake items to boost HP and other items to increaes the Kamehameha count — the super fireball that Goku can fire at enemies. Arino gets a few cakes, then goes back to fight Yamcha, who unfortunately jumps over almost every Kamehameha blast. Arino resorts to a flurry of punches, and narrowly defeats Yamcha again… with 22 HP.

But this time he knows where the secret powerups are, so he quickly restocks and gets back up to 80 HP or so. After getting the fourth Dragon Ball, Arino makes it to the end of the stage to face the next boss.

And the second boss of stage 3 is… Yamcha again! Arino tries his best to hit him, and even goes for a couple of Kamehame blasts, but he still misses, and Yamcha’s devestating hits kill Arino once more. He gets more health before the next try, and that seems to be the catalyst: Arino stays safe and just punches Yamcha, and defeats him again without much life lost.

Stage 4 takes place on Frypan Mountain, and a long series of cut-scenes follow, where Oolong turns into Bulma to fool Kame-sennin once more with a "puff-puff." So not safe for work.

Arino soon moves on and reaches the next miniboss: an axe-wielding guardian. It only takes a couple of attempts before he’s able to defeat it, thankfully.

In stage 5, Bulma is kidnapped by the Rabbit Gang, and Arino must collect four carrots to use as bait. The carrots are guarded by enemies in small rooms, but they’re so dumb that Arino can just dash in and out. And then he goes to face the leader of the gang. The rabbit hops around the spacious room all the time, but Arino lands a well-timed Kamehameha and follows up with a few punches to finish him off. Easy.

Stage 6 has Arino facing off against Emperor Pilaf. He quickly reaches the king’s chamber, but reaching him in there is a pain, since there are strategically-placed lava pits, plus knives that drop from above once you get close. With such narrow places to jump, Arino gets hurt multiple times and dies.

Next time, Arino stocks up on food, and in general does better jumping over the lava. He gets up to the king and exits the first half of the stage. Unfortunately, the second half ends the same exact way, in an indentical room. Arino loses the last of his health before he even gets a chance to get to the king again. Clearly frustrated, Arino fails more and more with the jumping. Finally, AD Nakayama appears.

Nakayama offers to do the hard part. Arino agrees, and Nakayama sits down to play. He screws up, though, getting hit by every knife. He calmly asks for a second try, and Arino reluctantly says yes. Nakayama’s technique has him jumping on the edge of the pit, then quickly jumping back off and over again — doing so "fools" the knives and clears the path. Well, he still dies, but Arino has the idea, at least.

Amazingly, Arino makes it past the knives on the first try, without a scratch! There’s little fanfare, but what’s important is that he completes stage 6. …Except there’s a third part he still needs to get through. He does his best, but a stray fireball finishes him off. Back on through…

Arino reaches the third boss room on the next attempt, and this time it’s different: a series of moving platforms not unlike a Donkey Kong level (as Arino puts it). There’s no knives, so it’s easy. But then there’s a fourth section of the stage, with another Donkey Kong room at the end. Arino blazes through and then a climactic cut-scene appears. It ends, only to put Arino in the real boss room against a two-headed monster! He immediately pauses.

As a matter of fact, he pauses right as one of the monster’s fireballs hits Goku’s head. Things get really tense now: Arino has 8 HP left. Will the fireball get rid of the rest of them?

Arino breathes, and unpauses. The hit brings him down to 2 HP, but he makes a mad dash for the door to try and avoid the monster before his health runs out. It’s no good, and he dies.

Fast-foward to the next attempt. Arino has enough health and dashes toward the boss, but then the screen changes. Goku falls through a shaft, and lands… several screens back in the stage! The room erupts in laughter. Arino soon dies once more.

20 minutes pass before he gets back to the boss. Arino goes right up to it and starts hammering away. That’s enough to kill the boss, and it drops some food, too! Arino hesitates going through the exit, because who knows what could be next. It’s a cut-scene, and it’s a good one: our heroes now have all seven Dragon Balls, and the stage is pretty much over. The dragon Shenron is summoned, and offers four wishes for the player to choose from.

VE Suda yells for #4 ("I want a girl’s panties"). The staff laughs, but Arino decides to go for it. It takes him to stage 7. Not so bad, right? Well, one of the choices ("to see the future") could have taken him to stage 11. But, progress is progress.

Stage 7 begins Goku’s climb up the worldwide fighting tournament ladder, and is easy enough: Arino faces Krillin, beats him, then moves on to stage 8. That’s just as brief and easy, as well, despite the relatively huge boss character. Even Arino is surprised! Then Yamcha rears his ugly head on stage 9 again. But this time, Arino knows how Yamcha operates, and beats him in one try.

At the end of the stage, however, is Buyon, the gargantuan fat sack lording over Muscle Tower. Not only does he shoot fireballs, but he wags his huge tongue around, too. Arino tries to stay alive, but always falls to a fireball.

Several attempts go by. After the eighth, Nakayama returns to give another hint book. Well, technically — it’s the Dragon Ball manga volume that Buyon appears in. Arino reads the chapter. The trick? Arino can just bust through the right-hand wall, destroying Buyon in an instant. No fighting required.

Stage 11 starts, and it’s an original story made just for this game. Arino takes Goku through an industrial area that’s pretty tough. He checks the old Jump hintbook: it says to look at the included map. The map’s been torn out. Regardless, Arino continues.

The boss of the stage is another Rabbit Gang leader, but he falls as easily as Yamcha did. Stage 12 is pretty hard, too, but when Arino dies, continuing the game puts him back at stage 11. So, one has to make it through the rest of the game without dying.

Nakayama comes by, and strongly recommends that Arino get as much cake as he can, since it gives an extra 100 HP each. Cake doesn’t appear all the time, however, and so, Arino is forced to spend nearly an hour trying to farm for cakes from defeated enemies.

He gets to stage 13, at any rate. By the end of it, though, Arino is forced to search for a key in a room filled with breakable blocks. After wasting time punching and kicking every block, he finds the key with 17 HP to spare. He leaves the room, only to be hit and killed by a common enemy.

Time ticks ever so slowly as Arino once again goes through stages 11, 12 and 13. By then, he’s handed the clock — it’s five past midnight. He can either give up now, or do his best with 122 HP and two more stages to go. Arino keeps playing. He tries to get the stage 13 key, but it’s in a different spot. He does get it, and then it’s on to the end of the stage. Arino has one more bit of platforming to go, and narrowly gets killed by a pair of enemies. Unfortunately, the following boss finishes him off. 14 hours of play ends in failure. Well, not every season can start off well.

But that just means it’s Nakayama’s turn to finish the game. He goes on to attempt stage 13, dies just as much as Arino does, but does make it to stage 14. However, he dies repeatedly there, and is playing well into the morning. Miraculously, he lucks into catching a cake and manages to defeat the final boss. And at last we can see the (horribly anticlimactic) ending to Dragon Ball.

TamaGe

Another year, another Tokyo Game Show, another Game Center CX event. It was a big one, too: the first unveiling of Arino no Chousenjou 2!

Before that, though, Arino and the other on-stage guests (Kibe and the producers from Namco/Indies Zero) showed off the English version of AnC, Retro Game Challenge. Arino also got the audience to shout "Kacho on;" the recording of which will end up in the sequel.

After the event, Arino joins AP Tojima for a little TGS booth tour. First is the Game School Corner, the regular TGS showcase of projects from budding game designers. At one spot, a pair of maids show Arino how to play a game featuring a cat overworking itself on an exercise bike. Controlling it is as excruating as the game looks, since you have to rub an analog stick in a circle. Rounding things out is the traditional pilgrimage to the GCCX merchandise booth.

Singing About Whatever the Hell You Want

In this new segment, Arino sings suggested lyrics to well-known game tunes. The person who suggests the tune gets a nice gift sent to them. But for now, all the suggestions are from the GCCX staff, and the fabulous prizes include a GCCX happi, a Tani shirt, and AP Iida’s business card. The tune is the famous "World 1-2" theme from Super Mario Bros. Arino starts with VE Suda’s lyrics, and then the other staffers.

The Game-itization Project 2

After the explosive success of Game Center CX: Arino no Chousenjou, Arino returns to the headquarters of Bandai Namco games to begin work on the sequel. First things first: check in with the Leah Dizon-lookalike receptionist who he didn’t get to talk to last time.

Then, Arino visits the office of NBGI president Shukuo Ishikawa to discuss the first steps for the sequel. Though Arino first suggests he join Pac-Man and the Gundam as one of the statues out in the lobby.

Then, Arino meets with the producers Yasuko and Sasaki, who were along for the ride last time. Along with the decision that Chousenjou 2 will still be the "game-within-a-game" type, they say they’re getting Indies Zero to make the sequel. Arino jokingly disapproves, saying he doesn’t like their president too much.

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