Game Center CX Season 12 – Back to Contents
The True Ordeal! "Furai no Shiren"
Unsurprisingly, Shiren the Wanderer left Arino beaten and bruised beyond recognition last time. His attempt to get through all 30 "floors" of the game’s dungeons fell pretty short of that number. It was a learning process the entire way, as Arino’s mistakeshd grave consequences — having to start all over with nothing, of course, but also the loss of minutes upon hours of time, leading to one last bungle just before the curtain call that night.
But maybe today, things will be different. Arino arrives in the morning, where AD Emoto is waiting for him. Emoto informs Arino that in the interim, the AD did some grinding, and prepared a Katana +17 (!) for Arino, among other goodies, and also started him off at 11F. Nothing like hitting the ground running.
Arino begins at 11F, and the first enemy he kills earns him a level-up. Moving ahead to 12F, Arino finds a little bunny just before the exit. He kills it, but gets no experience. It was a Fluffy Bunny, one that can heal Arino, but also heal other enemies, so it’s a double-edged sword of a loss. A little later, when looking for loot, he happens upon a panel on the floor that looks just like a Philips electric shaver. It’s actually a Multiply Trap, which increases the number of traps on the floor, but Arino avoids it anyway.
Finally, he exits 12F, and slowly makes his way through 13F, until he’s suddenly catapulted across the map by a Springboard Trap. What’s worse, his hunger level is down to 19%, and he has no rice balls to help. He continues to 14F, where he’s instnatly surrounded by two enemies, including a Baby Tank. Arino uses a scroll to level-down the Tank, which then scurries away, only to be healed by a Fluffy Bunny. Arino moves one step, and the Bunny walks beside him at the same time the Tank fires an arrow in his direction, killing the bunny. Again, both a blessing and a curse. Unfortunately, Arino tries to kill the Tank head-on, but he’s already too low on health, and ends up killed himself. Goodbye, Katana +17.
Arino grudingly restarts, but even though Emoto left some more helpful items in the first town’s storage box, they can’t heal the emotional scars. Emoto then returns to Arino’s desk, and tells him it atook about five or six hours for him to prepare all that.
Not to worry, though. Emoto asks Arino to reset the game completely, where there are in fact three copies of the save file Arino started with (too bad you can’t do that in the DS version). He effectively has two easy chances at this point.
Unfortunately, going back to 14F is still dangerous, as Arino finds himself in a big room being pelted from offscreen enemies. He dies from the hit of a Popster Tank, but just keeps going and reloads the next file. Soon enough, he heads out of 14F and to the Cryptic Rock Valley village. After a short stop there, he continues to 15F, beginning the Waterfall Marsh section.
Arino does OK for himself, making it to 17F, the foot of Table Mountain. Unfortunately, it’s a bit twisty, but he manages to find the exit, despite being down to 38% hunger. On 18F, he finds a Jar of Change, where an item put inside changes into something else. Arino decides to try something out, and puts in an item he didn’t really need, and, voila! A rice ball! Awesome luck. And after a second-long lunch break, it’s back to exploring.
Arino makes it to 21F before getting hungry again, but right after that is the Stream Village, where he can fortunately rest and fill up. Unfortunately the inns get more expensive the farther you go, and Arino is a bit shocked at the 2000-Gitan price for the inn.
He continues to 22F, but the place is littered with traps. Eventually, he falls in a hole trap, is taken back down to the village, and then on the next try, steps on an explosive trap that halves his health (granted, it’s a lot of health by now, but still). After another gauntlet of traps, he manages to make it to 23F, and then 24… only to fall in a trap and tumble back down to 23.
Arino gets back to 24F, but again manages to fall down a trap to 23. And when he gets back up, there’s trap after trap again, making his life more miserable. Finally, after some time, he makes it to 25F, gets through there easily, then reaches 26F. There, he quickly runs into the path of a Skull Mage that repeatedly turns Arino into a riceball, making it impossible to move until the enemy either gets tired or Arino eventually turns back to normal. Ironically, after he’s back to normal and defeats the enemy, he discovers he’s down to 0% fullness. Arino has no rice balls this time, so he just tries to get through the map before dying.
But then he runs into another Skull Mage that repeatedly puts him to sleep! Will nothing go right now? Arino’s dangerously close to dying, but every time he tries to use an item, he’s put back to sleep, turn after turn. Finally the enemy stops… when Arino has 1 HP left. Now what? He’s so close!
Arino takes a few moments to decide what to do, and then decides to use a Dragon Herb, which will breathe a powerful flame and probably kill the enemy. After a beat, Arino chooses the herb, but the pangs of hunger have the last laugh, nipping off that last one hit point and killing Arino before he even has a chance to do anything. Well then.
AD Emoto returns to Arino’s side. There’s one more ultra-save file left, so it’s time to copy it to the rest of the slots. Arino still has to start over from 1F, though, but this time, Emoto offers to play for a little while to get Arino back on track. The AD gets both Kechi the Masseur and Oryu on his team, and they’re great at getting through the first several floors. Unfortunately, they’re both killed on 8F, and Emoto is turned into a tiny Pickpocket enemy for most of the time.
Fast forward to 13F, though, and Emoto gets himself a Katana +25. Holy heck! Emoto gets Arino back to 26F in no time, and then the baton pass as Arino once again tries to get to the top floor. Once again, Arino is put to sleep by the enemies and repeatedly struck, but once he gets out of it, the enemies are dust in a flash thanks to that powerful Katana.
But soon, he’s in another hunger pinch. Aino decides to head to the exit, but he’s surrounded at the start. Luckily, he still has some rice balls stored in a jar, so he gobbles one down and clears out the first room. It’s no less treacherous with the super Katana, though, so Arino must still mind his HP. But it’s not hopeless; he manages to get past level 33 and on to 29F.
Yes, there’s one floor left. Arino is suitably powered up, but soon, he steps on a trap door and falls to 28F… which is now a Monster House! Yes, the entire floor is one huge room full of monsters, and the exit is very far away.. Arino’s wide-eyed and scared.
First thing he does is use a power-up scroll, which boosts his strength, and basically inches his way to the exit while slashing at enemies (which is all you really can do). He then uses a Blastwave Scroll, which hits every enemy in the room, and kills some from offscreen. That’s good enough, and soon there are only two enemies left. Then one, but it’s far away, and shooting Arino with flames that take off a lot of damage.
Arino tries to get close to the enemy, but the flames keep hitting him, and he’s soon at 6 HP. Another moment for crucial decisions. He uses a scroll he never tried before, which gives him full health, amazingly enough. Finally, he walks up and kills the culprit, a Sky Dragon, and then strolls back up to 29F.
A springboard trap next to the exit pitches Arino to a faraway corner, but he safely makes it to the Golden City, another rest area before 30F. The climax is upon us. Arino reads the tablets that adorn the Golden City, taking his time before going up the floating path to the Cave Behind the Waterfall, a.k.a. 30F.
The room in 30F is just one medium-sized area, but crawling with enemies, including the last boss, the Tainted Insect. Arino is unfortunately knocked back by one enemy, and most of his items fly out behind him. This happens a second time, where everything Arino had (except his equipped weapon/armor) flies out. To make matters worse, the last boss and his last remaining henchman hit pretty hard, and soon Arino is down to 22 HP. Another swipe of the last boss’ claws, and another death (and the most blood-curdling moan from someone in the back) occurs.
We jump ahead another two hours, and Arino is back at 28F, and once again needing a rice ball. But in another stroke of luck, he finds a scroll that completely replenishes his health and hunger. It’s on now.
Arino approaches the entrance to the final room, but pauses out of fear. AD Emoto makes one more appearance, and the two men start to strategize. Arino writes down his inventory on the whiteboard, and prioritizes them based on their effectiveness in battle.
And in we go. Arino starts with a paralyzing scroll that freezes all the enemies for 20 turns, which gives him a nice head start. He makes his way down into the lower left corner, which seems like a bad idea, but before you know it, both the boss and its last minion are right there, lined up for Arino to kill. With no danger of losing his items this way, Arino just stays put in the corner and hacks at the boss, making sure to refill his health at every opportunity.
Arino is up to full health, and continues hitting the the boss, and a couple of hits later, it’s gone. He’s done. He walks through the hall to the north and watches as Shiren frees the Golden Condor, and flies away to freedom. Yes, believe it or not, Arino completed Shiren the Wanderer. OK, so it took 26 hours over two days.
A Waste of Color
Arino’s first choice from Kibe’s bag is a good one: Mercenary Force by Meldac, a unique shoot-em-up of sorts where you choose between a few ancient Japanese warriors, then set them in formations while you blast away the oncoming enemies. Unfortunately it can be pretty hard, so Arino doesn’t last long through the first stage. But it’s another example of Meldac’s "occult"-themed games (along with Heiankyo Alien and Abarenbou Tengu).
Next is Moguraanya, a.k.a. Mole Mania, the late-era action puzzle game from Nintendo. Arino’s enjoying it, and Kibe asks if it might make a good challenge for a future episode. Arino just ignores him.
Lastly is Selection, also known as The Sword of Hope in America. It was unique for cramming an entire first-person RPG’s worth of data onto the tiny Game Boy screen, with a miniscule map window and a big dialogue/command window. At the time, it was also one of the few choices for RPGs on Game Boy.
As for drawing a picture, Arino narrows it down to Mole Mania and Mercenary Force, but Kibe takes Mole Mania, again, just in case it would make a good episode. Well then, it’s decided.
Game Center CX News
GCCX was the second consecutive winner of the SkyPerfecTV SkaPaa Award for Best Drama or Variety Program. Camerman Abe and AD Emoto were there to accept. Congrats!
Game Collections: 1990: February – March