Game Center CX Season 2 – Back to Contents
"The Mystery of Atlantis" is Solved
Game Center CX gets a reboot. After a season of interesting interviews, the focus turns to "Arino’s Challenge" to enhance the show’s entertainment value. Will it work!? Well by now we know, yes.
The new series starts off with a doozy: Sunsoft’s Atlantis no Nazo, one of the "premier" most-hated games for the Famicom. Arino must reach the ending by getting through the game’s 100 stages. He pledges not to give up on this one as he has in the past. We shall see.
Arino has trouble just getting past the first stage, but eventually makes his way to the second and stumbles upon a warp that takes him to stage 9. But the exit out leads to stage 8! The laughter of the staff echoes as confusion crosses Arino’s face. He jumps through stage 8, which warps him to… stage 10.
Stage 10 is a platforming nightmare, as the "ground" is a series of treetops Arino must hop across. The game’s goofy jumping physics don’t help things at all, though, and he really starts up a dying streak. Arino starts again from the beginning and gets back to stage 10 without any harm. He tries much more carefully this time, aiming for pixel-perfect precision, but still plummets to his death. The next time, he grabs the treasure chest but falls down right after that. Death after death is played back in a hilarious show of failure. Eventually Arino unzips his jacket and buckles down. It’s been two hours of playtime now. His next big attempt is a string of pauses and deep breaths, but he eventually falls again. Will he give up now?
Not likely. After the break, Arino restarts again, and this time, during stage 3, he accidentally falls into a hole, but it happens to be a warp that takes him to stage 6 — more laughter and confusion, but Arino presses on. The exit takes him back to stage 8, and then on to stage 10 again. Along the way Arino grabs the shoe item, and he finds out what they do once he jumps high enough in stage 10 — he can walk on the clouds! he hops across the first two, but eventually has to get back down to the treetops. He consistently screws up and falls down through the same gap. Once he gets past that, he falls through another gap, which turns out to be another warp that goes back to stage 3! Arino valiantly tries to relocate the warp hole to stage 6, but no luck. Finally he calls for AD Tojima.
Tojima walks out and slides up next to Arino. He successfully warps to stage 6, then 10. Tojima grabs the Star item there, but then slips up and dies. He screws up again, then decides to stop playing. Arino’s next chance turns out to be the one, as he finally makes it to the other side and out the door.
Arino makes it to stage 13, which warps to 16. As he walks through enemies without harm, he finally realizes the star item made him invincible — he’d been so involved in avoiding enemies that he didn’t even notice. He warps to stage 27, but there’s two exits here. He takes the first one out, but the next stage is pitch black, and he instantly falls into a pit. The stage restarts, but Arino has no idea what to do! He really has no choice but to start all over… again.
There’s a knock at the door. In steps Tojima. He hands Arino the official Atlantis no Nazo strategy guide, with all the maps and tips he could want. Most importantly, it has a chart of all the warp paths. The key route seems to be 1 – 11 – 52 – 91 – 95 – 93 – 96 – 98 – 99 – 100. The battle plan is set!
Arino starts over and makes it to stage 11, where he must kill himself to warp to stage 52. No, really. Another suicide warp leads to stage 91, and the door from 91 instantly drops Arino down to 95 — things are going great so far. 98 is a bit of a pain, however. Arino must jump across a series of tall columns, and it’s not the easiest thing for anyone — if he slips off of one, he has to kill himself and start again. And he does slip off. A lot. Eventually he makes it to the end, but overshoots it and falls down way beyond the exit. On the next try, he checks the book to count the number of columns, and with that knowledge, he actually makes it.
He breezes through stage 99 and makes it to the Final Zone. Here, giant heads shoot a series of fireballs constantly, making it nigh-impossible to make it to the end of the stage. To complicate things, Arino doesn’t have the Star this time. He crouches and creeps, but it doesn’t work. There’s no way to beat the game without the Star. After a bit of hard thought, he decides to start over and go with another warp route.
Just then, Tojima steps in and offers to play through for Arino to give him a bit of a break. Tojima gets the Star in stage 10, but makes the same stupid mistake he did last time. Arino gives him a "love tap" and Tojima asks for one more try. He makes it the second time, and hands the controller back. Arino makes a stupid mistake and asks Tojima to come back in. The game resets, and Arino takes a break to eat while watching Tojima play. At stage 41 Arino asks for the controller back, and decides to continue on.
He warps to stage 94, which has its exit hidden far below on a very small ledge. Arino tries dropping bombs off the side of the ledge, but they explode in midair. The trick is to drop down there first, reveal the door, set another bomb, jump and open it. Arino goes back and accidentally reveals another door, but the staff yells at him to stay on track. He tries again, and drops down to the ledge, but time runs out and he dies!
Tojima steps back in and does a little advising. Arino takes one more jump, and. . . ! With the help of Tojima’s yelling out when to jump, Arino successfully reveals the door and heads to stage 97. 97 is a huge shaft that Arino must jump out of, and then jump off the side into the black void, onto a series of clouds to find the exit door. Arino gets to the top but freaks out, so Tojima goes over to the whiteboard to draw it out for him.
Arino tries again and almost falls down the middle of the shaft, but gets back up and… doesn’t quite jump in time, falling to his death. Tojima sets him up again, and Arino prepares with a few stretches. He unpauses, jumps off and lands on the clouds. He hops along and almost slips off (!!) but saves himself. Finally, after much stress, he reaches the door to the final zone.
The star makes it an easy trip to the end, where all Arino has to do is collect a giant diamond. Voila! The mystery of Atlantis is: a trapped Ikki (the hero from the Sunsoft game of the same name). That’s about it. Final play time: eight and a half hours. Tojima must now leave for America, so Arino sends him off with a bouquet. As the credits roll, Arino is introduced to the new AD, Sasano. And as we’ll find out, season 2 has just begun.
For the first TamaGe, Arino heads to a shopping-slash-amusement center near the Oimachi train station called Hankyu Daily Shoppers, in search of a Hang On machine. The game corner is quite large, with an indoor selection of machines and more attractions on the roof. As has been the norm for Arino, he starts off sampling the medal machines and UFO catchers.
He has a particularly hard time with a vintage coin-flipper game called A-Kyu License. Eventually he wins, but the prize won’t come out. He calls over the manager, who opens up the machine and hands Arino his prize: a box of cheap candy.
Arino spends some more time at the machines, but eventually remembers his hunt for Hang On. But that will have to be for the next episode.
I’d Like to Meet This Man: Yoshiki Okamoto
Arino visits Game Republic to talk to ex-Capcom designer Yoshiki Okamoto. Okamoto started out as an illustrator, creating posters for arcades before entering the game business via Konami (he also reveals his favorite game to be Konami’s Time Pilot). Okamoto goes on to talk about the idea behind his classic game SonSon (partly inspired by Xevious), and then he and Arino play SonSon together. Okamoto yelps in between describing the finer points of the game, and as the two trade deaths between one another, Okamoto finally bites the big one. Okamoto also talks about 1942 and his studio’s first project, Genji.
Game Collections: Famicom Disk System