Game Center CX Season 11 – Back to Contents
The 11th Season Starts With "LayLa!"
GCCX dips its toe into obscurity again by giving Arino the Famicom action game LayLa, made by the equally obscure dB Soft. It calls itself a "maze action" game on the box, and though levels do consist of several interconnected floors, it’s basically a run-and-gun game starring a cute girl soldier. LayLa must rescue her partner from the enemy base through eight stages that Arino has to get through. Not a high number; can he do it?
The game begins, and Arino watches as Layla flies into the first level ("Asteroid 1"). He shoots some boxes to reveal some items, which includes a new pistol to use. Unfortunately, Arino traps himself behind a wall, and the screen doesn’t scroll back. Disappointed, Arino fires at the wall.. and the blocks explode! He can pass through after all. After busting up some more boxes elsewhere, a small tornado-looking thing swoops onscreen and starts following Arino, hitting him until he’s finally dead. That’s not good. And it’s even worse when it means Game Over!
He starts over, then gets to the end of the level where an elevator waits. But that’s not actually the end, because as mentioned, each level is a series of floors leading to the boss room. Arino pushes on, gets to another elevator, and enters a room that can only mean the boss is inside, due to the creepier change in music. But there’s actually nothing in there except a small "password disk." The elevator there leads to another empty room.
But then Arino finally makes it to the boss! The big green alien Bamoh is pretty weak, but he jumps a lot, and Arino is easily thrown off. Touching Bamoh takes a lot of life, so Arino’s dead in seconds. He wonders if the ol’ Hudson continue code (Left + Start) works in this game… nope, back to the start with you.
On the second round against Bamoh, Arino stops jumping and simply runs under the boss when it jumps. However, Arino’s shots aren’t doing anything. He pauses the game, then plays with the buttons until, finally, he sees that LayLa’s inventory screen scrolls over to another set of weapons when you press Select. Nice!
Although he gets hit once, Arino manages to kill Bamoh just in time, and the next elevator opens up. The level is practically done, but there’s one more room before officially exiting. Arino goes down the elevator, and before leaving, he checks out the inventory and plays with some of the weapons. But that tornado thing comes back, Arino panics, and is killed right in front of the final elevator.
Fast forward to the third attempt against Bamoh, and Arino finds out he can kill him in one hit with the tomahawk weapon. After the first level is a simple bonus stage, and then before starting Asteroid 2, the game gives Arino a much-needed password. He quickly copies it down on the whiteboard and continues to the second level.
Asteroid 2 starts with a narrow corridor that’s easy to get through, and then Arino stands on a ledge above two zombies walking on a pit of spikes. He tosses a grenade down there to kill them, and they drop life-restoring sweets, but Arino resists temptation and moves on. But temptation gets him when he blows up a bunch of item boxes in a small shaft. When Arino gets all the items, he finds out that he can’t actually up and out; it’s too tall. He tries to gain enough jump momentum, but it’s only in vain. And then the tornado appears and kills him!
Well, at least he has the password now — and luckily enough the game already has it entered for him when he gets back to the title screen. Arino properly gets through that room next time, but then the next room is nothing but a huge wall. Defeated, he gets back in the elevator and goes up… and it takes him right to the next password disk room. Then, down to the next room. It’s an easy trip, and then it’s down to the lair of the second boss, Batoya, which looks like a slug with wings.
Batoya bounces along the ceiling, perodically swooping down further to strike Arino. That alone is enough to drive him nuts and eventually kill him for the first time. He can’t even get a shot in. After failing to get results from any of the firearms, he tries the tomahawk again, which, just like last time, kills Batoya in one hit. Even though it’s been proven that the game saves passwords, Arino writes down the level 3 one just in case.
Asteroid 3 starts in an underground cavern, which is much more challenging than the previous levels. Eventually Arino slips through to the next couple of rooms, but eventually dies from more tricky enemies. He tries taking another route through the rooms, but that doesn’t seem to be getting him any closer to the password room.
After a couple more deaths, he makes it to the boss room. It’s not quite a password, but it’s the end of the stage at any rate. The boss this time is Espadra, a slithery dragon — just what Arino doesn’t need, considering the dragons he’s faced in the past. Once again, the guns Arino tries aren’t working, and he gets close to death. He even tries the tomahawk, but that isn’t working either! Eventually Espadra grazes and kils him again.
On the next try, Arino’s almost dead before he even reaches the boss, so it’s a fast fight. The results are the same for eight tries. It’s taken more than 3 hours on this same level! On the eighth attempt, he just pulls out the regular pistol and starts firing, jumping whenever the dragon gets close. It seems to be hurting the boss, but Arino dies eventually. He goes back through the level and gets the password disk, and then, on the ninth attempt, after firing the pistol shots enough, the dragon is defeated, and a pile of sweets come flying out. Success.
Onto Asteroid 4. It’s once again in a cave, and once again dificult. And it’s made harder by a weird beam of light that follows Arino, but also keeps blipping in and out of the screen. It doesn’t seem to be able to be killed, but it can kill Arino just fine. Actually, when he tries the bazooka, Arino fells the light in just a couple of hits. Arino continues busting through rock walls until he finally reaches the first elevator. Yes, the first one. He wipes the sweat from his brow after that, and goes on up to the next room. Unfortunately, the comedy of errors continunes. Arino falls down bottomless pits again and again, gets grazed by enemies constantly, and generally has a miserable time while stuffing snacks into his mouth, presumably to dull the pain.
After enough trial and error, he finally reaches the boss room, and it turns out to hold a more vicious version of Batoya. Logic dictates he should use tomahawk again, but no matter — the machinegun works just as well, although it takes longer. After a little tense moment here and there, Arino wins.
Predictably, Asteroid 5 starts off pretty hard, with the same stupid deaths as usual. It takes another two hours, stuck at the same area. But after that, Arino is handed something from the staff. It’s a notepad with key tips on each page. He still has to get through a gauntlet of falling spikes in that first room, though, but his panic is overriding his smarts. It’s not until he uses the machine gun to spray bullets in front of him as he runs that he finally gets to the elevator.
After some more tough times, Arino is handed another piece of paper, and this one has a step-by-step list of what directions to go in the elevators. He pushes on, grabbing the password disk, shooting through some enemy waves, but dying again just as he enters the next elevator.
Finally, he reaches the boss: another version of Bamoh. And this time there’s a cage in the corner holding LayLa’s partner Elise! Arino panics again, but doens’t quite die. Instead, he jumps up to the cage and shoots at it to rescue Elise. He immediately pauses and checks the manual to see who Elise is and what she does — basically, she just follows LayLa. At any rate, Arino runs to the elevator and escapes without defeating the boss.
Turns out that wasn’t *the* boss, though, as Arino still has to go through a few more rooms. With Elise in tow, he gets through another tricky room and up to another elevator that apparently has the true boss.
But just then, he’s handed the clock. It’s been 14 hours, now, and Arino is told this is going to be his final life. He enters the boss chamber and encounters the monster: a two-headed snake thing called Taratabu. The heads jut from the ceiling and make it hard to hit them. But Arino just keeps jumping and shooting, and before long, they’re defeated in seconds!
Arino still has to get out of the level, though, and there’s a few more enemies left to defeat. However, the wave is pretty strong, and Arino dies from just too much stuff onscreen. And so the first challenge of season 11 ends in failure.
Arino is in the city of Futtsu, Chiba, to check out the fun to be had at Mount Nokogiri, as suggested by the show’s own Tani.
A ropeway takes visitors up to the top of the hill, and Arino waits for the next tram car to arrive. As the passengers get out, one of them — apparently a GCCX otaku — notices Arino and says hello to the kacho, and even camerman Abe. The tram ride ends, and Arino walks up to the observation deck to enjoy the view. But there’s little time for that; there are games to be played! The visitor center has a game center inside, so Arino walks on in to check it out.
It’s kind of small, though. Arino walks around the corner to see if there are any more machines, but, nope — just that little room. One of the few videogames there is Konami’s Hot Chase, an action racing game. It’s heavy on stunts, like smashing through barricades and leaping over trains, and apparently, the brakes don’t work. Arino doesn’t last past the first stage.
Following that, he briefly checks out a whac-a-mole ripoff, Rock ‘N Mole, and then an older redemption game, Chicken Drag Race (which is apparently for players 18 or older, as the prizes inside are porn videos). As the car (represented by lights) moves down the road, you hit a button to put on the brakes and see how close you get to the "crash" zone without actually getting there. Arino gets within 0.6 meters, which is so good he does it again! But he gets the exact same score.
Arino notices a couple of small children standing behind him, apparently wanting to play too. Arino points them toward the adjacent Anpanman game, but they don’t budge. Fine, he’ll play Anpanman, then! The mechanical game involves Anpanman defeating his arch rival, and a high score can earn a prize delivered at the bottom of the machine. Arino wins, but nothing’s coming out. After a few seconds, he looks up at the game’s display, which says "E1" — "E" for "error."
Arino caps things off with a game of air hockey with AP Nakayama. Needless to say, Nakayama wins by a landslide. Meal time is next, and Arino grabs a dango from a nearby stand. He gets AD Watanabe over to help decide on what type to get, and then the two enjoy their dango outside, until they try each other’s, and Watanabe ends up eating all of Arino’s.
Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Strategy Guides
As four men from the GCCX staff kneel, the priest reads a seclection from a guide for Mother (Earth Bound). "When you get new friends, bring them to Magicant and buy items, because they will be very weak at the start."