Game Center CX Season 12 – Back to Contents
Fighting the Battle Together!! "Ninja Ryukenden II"
Last time, Arino began Ninja Gaiden II, and got surprisingly close to the endgame. But the show went over time, so things were cut short. So, we begin where we left off: Arino entering stage 5-1, another dark cave dotted with annoying enemies and platform layouts. Arino makes it to the second half, but is quickly pushed by a bird down onto a bed of flames, from which he can’t escape.
He does make it to the exit eventually, though, and then enters 5-2, a stage covered in ice. Of course! Ice! The slippery surfaces naturally start sliding Arino right into enemies and off ledges. Jump timing becomes extremely important in one part, but Arino constantly jumps right onto the enemy on the platform below, which pushes him off into the bottomless pit.
Once he does land safely, Arino must then make a series of jumps along a line of tiny platforms. Amazingly, that only takes two tries, and before you know it, Arino comes face to face with the game’s villain, Ashtar. The battle begins, but Arino arrives without any ninja magic power, so all he can do is slash his sword. But Ashtar’s projectiles overpower him, and he’s kicked back to the start of the hellish second half of 5-2.
Fast forward back to the boss, where Arino at least has a bunshin (clone) to help in the fighting. Deaths begin to accumulate, but on the sixth try, Arino starts to learn the expandin/retract pattern of Ashtar’s projectiles. He dies again, but he is, at least, staying alive longer. After a few slow and steady attacks, Arino’s and Ashtar’s health bars are even, and Arino tries not to panic.
With two hits left on each opponent, the timer starts beeping, indicating the last several seconds left in the game. Arino keeps staying still until Ashtar gets close enough for another hit, but he fails to strike Ashtar, and right after that, the last two seconds count down, killing Arino — at the same time Ashtar had only one health bar left! The screams are loud, including Arino’s.
On the eighth attempt, Arino has two bunshin and plenty of magic points, so he goes to town on Ashtar, tossing fire magic and wasting the demon in mere seconds. That’s all it takes. But in no way is this the end of the game — we immediately go to the sixth chapter, where although Ryu’s damsel Irene is safe, his quest isn’t over.
Stage 6-1 begins, and the gimmick in this one is a bunch of ruined castle walls in the foreground that obscure Arino’s view, made worse when relative floods of enemies start appearing from either side — running grunts, birds, fireballs — you name it. Arino’s eventually killed for the first time, and starts getting more Game Overs.
After some more struggling, he finally makes it to the end of the evel, where another demonic castle appears in the distance. Arino rushes through stage 6-2 and reaches the end, where he meets some familiar "friends:" the Kerberos bosses from Ninja Gaiden 1! And much like last time, he has a hell of a time adapting to the two leaping gargoyles, even with the assistance of bunshin.
Arino thinks he’s found a safe spot to slash at the Kerberos with, but it turns out he’s the only one getting hurt, much to his dismay. Another death, but after that, with full magic, Arino just goes ahead and camps in the upper corner of the room and just keeps throwing fireballs at the Kerberos. It works!
But God forbid this game be anywhere close to done! Stage 7-1 begins, which a slimy green background and tons more tiny platforms and birds to deal with. Arino starts to wonder if Ryu has a bird allergy, considering how far he flies when they hit him. With the stress rising even with the cold pad on his head, Arino affixes a second pad to the back of his neck.
Right around then is when Arino is handed the clock, which shows just several minutes until midnight. Arino decides not to give up, though, and decides to come back for a second day.
Three days later, Arino returns to his post and gets right back to 7-1, though he’s already a little rusty, mostly because he was playing New Super Mario Bros. in the interim and keps thinking there’s a run button. But he does get past where he was stuck before, and makes it to the second part of the game — where floating fireballs surprise him and push him right back to his death (and a Game Over) again.
He makes it back to that section, but is still confused by the fireballs — they track him as soon as they appear, so he has to figure out how to escape them without getting hit and then find a way up to the ladder to the next screen. It’s also his last life again, so that’s something to consider. Arino unpauses, but almost immediately is hit and killed. The fireballs were just too close.
On the next try, Arino gets past the fireballs, but is killed again — luckily, that was at a checkpoint, so the worst is behind him. Well, in a sense. Another gauntlet of enemies precedes the exit door, though we’re spared much of Arino’s battle there.
Stage 7-2 begins. This one seems to be the last of the platforming, as the music is the same as the first stage, so it has a climactic feel. It’s a short stretch, but Arino still gets caught just a little bit before the exit ladder due to more precariously-placed enemies for him to land on.
He makes it up the ladder, but then enemies in the next half kill him, and he’s bumnped back to the very start of 7-2. The anguish grows as more than 90 minutes pass.
After so much time, Arino finally makes it to the final exit. Unfortunately for us, he acidentally skips the preceding cutscene, and then is instantly killed once the final battle begins. Back to the start!
Wait, what? Well, as it turns out, when the "final" battle against the resurrected Jaquio begins, half of Arino’s life is immediately taken away — and he only had a couple of bars to begin with.
Once again, Arino pushes through 7-2, and reaches the boss for real this time. Jacquio is a little meaner than he was in Ninja Gaiden 1, with a more complex movement pattern that frequently catches Arino in the corner and — yep — kills him again.
As Arino takes a short break to reflect, in walks former AP Tojima, his reporter mic in hand. He thanks Arino for the video he made for the AP’s recent wedding, and then, seeing that the kacho needs help, introduces two Ninja Gaiden experts into the room: former ADs Sasano and Urakawa. All three men helped Arino complete the first Ninja Gaiden four years ago, so it’s only fitting that they return to help him defeat Jacquio once more.
Sasano sits down with the game first and sees how far he’ll get, but he has no idea which direction go at first. After Arino teaches him, Sasano continues, but he doesn’t last long. After he gets a Game Over, it’s Urakawa’s turn, but he doesn’t even last as long as Sasano.
OK, so those two didn’t work out. They politely leave, and then Tojima sends in the big guns; the young blood: AD Emoto and AP Nakayama. Emoto sits down with the game next, and Arino asks if he feels the pressure this time. Luckily, Emoto is pretty good. As he plays, Arino asks Tojima about his wedding, how the reception went, and when he met the fam– okay shut up Emoto’s at the boss now.
Emoto pauses, and then uses the whiteboard to illustrate some advice for the boss fight. Arino takes over and follows the advice, sticking to the upper corner and pelting Jacquio with magic fireballs, then jumping down when Jacquio sends out his own fireballs, and repeating the process. With two health bars left, Arino manages to defeat Jacquio.
Well, you know, for now, anyway. The Dark Sword of Chaos summons a larger demon, Jashin; a giant head attached to the wall spits little fireballs, but also has purple acid rapidly dripping from the ceiling. Unfortunately, Arino is killed, and once again restarts 7-2. Tojima has Emoto take over again, beat Jacquio, and then it’s back to Jashin.
Even with Emoto’s help in getting powered-up, Arino loses again. But the second time’s a charm, as Arino uses large shurikens to destroy Jashin’s head. But in a completely unshocking move, Jashin morphs into a much larger demon, just like in Ninja Gaiden 1. Arino has only one dot of health left, so he’s killed pretty quickly.
Emoto once again gets through the already-played parts, and then draws a positively adorable picture of the final Jashin up on the board. As in the last game, Jashin’s external parts must be destroyed before going for its vulnerable center.
Arino starts the battle again, and quickly destroys the head with shurikens, but then the decapitated Jsshin starts spitting waves of fireballs out from its top. Arino rushes in and starts striking the center orb, but is killed before he has a chance to destroy Jashin himself (it only had two bars left!).
This time, the third time’s the charm, and Arino dodges the firebalsl expertly as he continues to slash at the center. It’s over before you know it, and then, the final cut-scene plays, once again with Arino and Tojima voicing Ryu and Irene, respectively.While incredibly pain ful for Arino, the 20-hour challenge manages to end with laughs.
On January 16, 2010, the GCCX staff held a "company getaway" with a select group of lucky fans who got to go on a bus tour and hang with Arino and friends for a day.
The journey started in Chiba at the Umi Hotaru Parking Area, as the fans gathered on the coast to find Arino doing some shadow boxing. After picking him up, the tour continued to Kisarazu Central, an old TamaGe stop. There, Arino played table tennis with AP Tojima, and some of the fans had a competition with a quiz video game.
After lunch on the grass, the caravan continued to the Kaientai Dojo, a sports facility where the fans watched AP Nakayama and Inoko MAX re-create their shirtless match from the GCCX24 special. Nakayama won for a second time, and the men once more got into a scuffle.
To put a cap on the day’s events, a still-shirtless Nakayama sang Last Continue, soon joined by a just-as-undressed AD Tsururoka, assissting on guitar.
A Waste of Color
The first game Arino pulls out of Kibe’s bag this time is Monster Maker, a Sofel RPG with a card-based theme — dungeon maps and such are revealed card-by-card as the player walks over them.
Next is Maikaimura Gaiden, also known as the Game Boy version of Gargoyle’s Quest II. Arino doesn’t play it for longer than a few minutes — long enough for Kibe to let him know it’s a port.
Lastly, there’s Jikuu Senki Mu, a standard RPG from Hudson with some character customization features. But in the end, Arino chooses Monster Maker to draw a picture of.
Game Collections: 1990: April-May