Game Center CX Season 13 – Back to Contents
Chaining it Up! "Super Puyo Puyo"
Arino’s played a couple of puzzle games throughout the show, but none quite as traditional as Puyo Puyo. And so, here were are with Super Puyo Puyo for the Super Famicom, an early rendition of the beloved puzzle series from Compile (and released outside Japan as Kirby’s Avalanche/Ghost Trap). It can be quite a difficult game, though, with a heavy focus on chain combos, as you repeatedly clear away groups of puyos to send "garbage" to your opponent. Can Arino learn the finer ponits of the game before the day is over?
Arino switches on the game, and notices the difficulty settings for the standard "Vs. Com" game. It goes from Easy, to Normal, to Hard, to Hardest. Arino goes with Hardest, presumably to just joke around. The game begins as the heroine Arle squares off against Draco Centaurous in a puyo battle.
Surprisingly, despite Draco working faster than Arino, he’s defeated in a matter of minutes. Guess it wasn’t a joke after all? After that is a match with the fishman Suketoudara ("Tara" for short). He’s much faster than Draco, surprising Arino a bit. Both opponents get close to losing with their puyos reaching the top, but it’s Arino that falls first.
Arino re-engages the fish, but it’s no use — he just keeps losing. Feeling confused, Arino takes a second to re-evaluate his strategy, and at that moment, AD Katayama walks in to teach him the finer points of puyo chaining. He then offers to show Arino. Katayama immediately screws up and eventually loses the whole thing. Apparently he hadn’t been playing on Hardest.
Nonetheless, Arino gets the gist of chaining, and goes for it when he restarts the game on Hard. Unfortunately it’s Draco that’s chaining the most, but sheer determination puts Arino on top. Can he make it through the game now that he’s on the next lowest difficulty? He has 13 more stages to go, after all.
Fighting Tara is still tense, and Arino loses more than once. Eventually, he just goes into practice mode to try out his chaining skills. He spends about an hour there until he feels confident enough to go back to the main game, and so he does. This time, he’s actually sending garbage towards Tara, and it’s working! As arino counts his chains, the garbage falls, and before you know it, Suketoudara is gone. All it took was three and a half hours.
Stage 3 is against the one-legged Sukiyapodes, but sadly, Arino is wasted in the first go. He sends out at least one three-count chain, which keeps Sukiya at bay for a while, and after one more, Arino wins! After that is Harpy, who strangely fills her sides of the chamber with puyos, then works from there. Arino’s confused, but has his own well to worry about, and indeed, loses several times. Eventually he starts aping Harpy’s technique, and after sending a four-count chain’s worth of garbage, it definitely seemed to have worked!
Next is Sasoriman, who seems to have the most accomplished chain technique so far. He defeats Arino in no time. Time spent on this fifth stage reaches 45 minutes, but it’s just after then that Arino lucks into a massive garbage pile, and gets rid of Sasoriman in about two minutes. Things are looking up…
The next opponent is Panotty, a pan pipe-playing little elf, and Arino thinks he has an early victory, but Pano quickly turns the tables for the first attempt. And the second. And so on. This time, Arino’s spent about 90 minutes on this stage.
AD Katayama returns, and this time will give Arino play-by-play advice, based on a system of directions he’s worked out — he calls out "left" in correspondence to the two leftmost columns, "middle" for the middle two, and so on. It seems foolproof, but Arino still ends up losing a couple of times. Instead, Katayama just takes over and sets up the chains on his own. He pauses about halfway, gives the controller back to Arino, and then the kacho wipes the floor with Panotty all on his own.
The next opponent is Zombie, who’s fast right off the bat, throwing Arino off once or twice. Okay, a ton of times. Enough to finally watch the sun come down outside. Yep, just a little over half done, and the day, too, reaches its second half.
Finally, after some determined playing, Arino finally defeats Zombie, to thunderous applause. Then it’s on to face Witch, who looks a little more like a nun. Arino loses a few times, as is to be expected now. The game is wearing him down, as he starts getting pain in his shoulder, but he soon defeats Witch.
Next is Zou-Daimaou, the great demon king of the elephants, who is, to put it in two words, insanely tough. He’s speedy and distracting, thanks to the weight of his puyos shaking the ground every time they touch down.
But Arino barely gets to really engage the elephant before he’s handed the clock — it’s almost 10 PM, meaning he’s been at it almost 12 hours. Arino’s given the choice to continue or give up. He did pretty good for playing on Hard mode, but still. Actually, he’s given a third choice — face off against staff members in the game, and if he beats the majority, he wins the challenge! Yes, that old rule.
Arino’s game. A sheet of five covered names is given to him, and he peels back the first one to reveal the first opponent: Cameraman Abe! Abe, of course, barely knows how to play (asking if the A button is the one that rotates the puyo right, and just letting them fall at normal speed), and Arino quickly builds chains, defeating Abe handily.
Next is Inoko MAX, and he’s surprisingly good, pinching Arino early and eventually winning the match. Arino’s not happy, but Inoue just keeps bowing as he leaves the desk.
Kibe-kun is next, and he admits he’s pretty good at the game — maybe too good for Arino. Arino suggests a handicap where Kibe plays with the controller upside down. So be it! Kibe flips the control pad, and of course, has a hell of a time adjusting. Arino steadily sends over garbage, but Kibe inevitably screws himself over. An easy win!
AD Katayama joins in next, and considering that he’s proven himself earlier in the episode, he’s probably going to win. To be fair, both men do pretty well and keep things even for quite a while, but before long, Katayama sends over a flood of garbage when Arino leasts expects it, and clinches his victory.
So what will it be now? Arino’s at an even split, and he needs to win the next one. And just who will face him? He pulls back the sheet — AD Takahashi! Wait, Takahashi? The female AD from years ago? Arino’s a bit taken aback. But no, no, it’s a new Takahashi, and a guy, at that; the other new hire along with Katayama. Arino immediately makes fun of his cardigan.
Takahashi has some fight in him, sending over plenty of garbage to Arino, and before you know it, he’s done. Arino loses the gauntlet, and, after 12 hours 30 minutes, this challenge is recorded as a failure. Ah, I never really liked Puyo Puyo, anyway.
The nondescript streets of Sumida are where we find Arino this time, in search of a candy shop called the Eleven Shop. All the goodies are inside, of course, though there are two game cabinets outside. If you know the show, then you can probably guess what one of the games will be… yes, Metal Slug. Metal Slug 3, to be exact. Arino calls over AD Inoue, and the two squeeze in for a game. They make it to the first boss, but Arino loses while Inoue continues.
A little girl standing behind Arino starts asking him what he’s doing. She then announces she’s going to call her dad on her phone, and Arino teases her and her giant phone strap — she’s sassy to begin with, so she snaps back just fine, even flatly denying Arino’s offer to play Metal Slug with her.
Meanwhile, Arino plays the other game, Strikers 1945 Plus. The girl leaves a very brief message for her dad, and as Arino continues playing, a boy behind him starts yelling out how to play Strikers. Eventually, Arino dies, so it’s time to check out the shop.
The kids are practically attached to him now as they follow him inside and immediately begin asking for a 100-yen coin as soon as he pulls out his container. The five or six kids literally corner Arino, but he gets out just in time, and finally spends a few minutes shopping.
Near the counter, Arino spends a few coins on sticker chance games, where you pull down a sheet at random and peel off the sticker to see if you won a prize. He burns through five of them before finally getting something. After that, he tries another chance game — the ol’ toothpick game, where you pull off a bite of chicken and see if you got the winning colored tip. After winning, the old man and woman in charge offer to write his name on a slip that’s hung up above the counter from then on.
Crash Videos MAX
This time, Inoue shows Arino the skeletonizing of Arthur in Ghosts ‘N’ Goblins, a missed leap in Super Mario 64, a simple miss in Ice Climber, and the very shattering death one can experience in Mach Rider.
Game Collections: 1990: September / October