Game Center CX Season 14 – Back to Contents
The Prince Who Became a Slime – "Jerry Boy"
We know Game Freak as the developer of Pokemon, as well as Quinty/Mendel Palace, which Arino played many episodes ago. But after Quinty, their first Super Famicom game was Jerry Boy. It was also known as SmartBall outside Japan, and in a rather neutered version, as well. SmartBall had little to none of the actualy story bits of Jerry Boy, so here, we get to see the whole hullabaloo of a young prince, Jerry, turned into a slime by an evil magician who also goes ahead and steals the princess. For Arino, this means he must complete all eight worlds in this cute platformer before midnight.
The game begins with stage 1-A, and Arino, as usual, takes some time to get used to the controls Jerry moves a bit slowly, and can’t do much more than jump and stretch up a little. That is until Arino sits on top of a power-up flower. The flower gives him the Ball weapon, which is Jerry’s standard projectile. Arino uses the balls to pelt the mouse enemies running around this level. After accidentally dying in a pit, Arino tries again and quickly completes 1-A.
After that, the enters the "1-Town" stage, where the citizens are visibly surprised to see a cute slime running around. Arino moves on to 1-B, where he’s killed by a hopping pig’s head that is a little too hard to predict. A couple more silly deaths, and it’s Game Over, but the good news is, he can continue right at the same stage… but then he dies even faster than the first time.
Some time later, and Arino spots a huge bird; the boss. He immediately runs away, but there’s no avoiding this! There never is! The bird, named Birdie, of course, stampedes along the ground, but then flies up and drops spiked balls on Arino’s head (or whatever you’d call a slime’s head). But one of the balls Birdie drops is a usable Ball weapon, so Arino must carefully time it so that he jumps and grabs the ball.
After dying a few times Arino stocks up on balls beforehand — he discovers Jerry can hold several at a time — then engages Birdie again. Arino’s ready to fire, but misses a few times, so he’s back to collecting the balls from Birdie. And yet, what deals the final blow is not a ball, but Arino stretching up and then jumping just as Birdie comes in– apparently that works as an attack! And that ends World 1.
Stage 2-A quickly moves from video game grassland to a bustling city, one with drainage pipes that Arino can slip through like a pneumatic tube. Unfortunately, once he goes underground, he’s stuck in a loop of death due to more annoying tiny, hopping enemies.
Eventually, he works past that point, and tries some more pipe traveling. The plumbling leads further down into the water, and for a little bit, it looks like Arino’s going to pull through, but then he reaches a room with multiple pipes that lead up to a spot where several enemies are hopping around. He dies too easily, but soon he figures out how to stay on the walls and reach out and attack from the sides, and then it’s on to the next room.
More precarious platforming follows, but Arino’s running leaps are perfeect, and finally, Stage 2-A is over. 2-B brings things back outside, but with even more daring platforms to try and leap across. Later on, Arino gets a new item: the Seed, which plants a beanstalk and allows him to continue up past tall cliffs. From there, it’s on to the next boss. A flock of birds? More birds?! Oddly enough, they line up in a grid formation, and then fish appear from their negative space. It’s not as hard as it sounds, though — Arino uses his newly-found Iron ball and just tosses it at them until they’re gone.
World 3 opens in the desert. Arino doesn’t do well, constantly dying early, and getting chased by desert serpents right into pits. When he finds a Seed, he mistakenly places it at the top of a dune, which gets him nowhere. He guesses he now has to make a very big leap across the lava pit (lava in the desert? Sure!) to get to the next part of the stage. From the top of the dune, Arino takes the leap of faith… and sticks to the absolute edge of the entrance to the next section.
After that, it’s a quick trip to the Town stage, or rather, the "OASYS." Arino earns a 1-Up from a kind old man, and then it’s on to Stage 3-B, which takes place after dark. It’s a fairly smooth path to the boss: some sort of cyborg whose limbs are connected by clouds of sand, and shoots lasers. Nope, it makes no sense, but somehow, Arino is able to beat him in a couple of tries. And then, we watch Jerry hop into a rocketship, and head to the moon.
The moon stage is at least cleverly presented, with the surface rotating as Arino moves to the right. But after a couple of minutes, he suddenly falls down in to the middle of the rock, grabs an item, and goes down a pipe to end the stage. Stage 4-B, then, takes place on the, ahem, dark side of the moon, where the boss is a posessed constellation. It shoots hard-to-dodge bullet patterns, and follows by tossing its "legs" (the lines that connect the dots of its stars). But a few tries it all it takes for Arino to finally beat the thing.
World 5 begins, and it’s totally underwater this time. Arino beats 5-A in record time, but 5-B adds a strong current to the water, so he struggles a bit. He reaches the boss, an obese penguin named Ginzo, who spits out tiny fish at Arino. He changes up his pattern so much that Arino’s frequently thrown off, and gets a Game Over with almost no effort.
On the next try, after stocking up on balls, Arino does a little better, but still not good enough to win. But finally, on the seventh attempt and no doubt some sweating, Arino carefully defeats Ginzo. 6-A moves into full-on ice territory, where Arino has to do more crazy platforming while not slipping to his doom — including dodging a half-naked guy running right towards him.
An indoor section is particularly hairy, to the point where it takes over an hour to try and get through this stage. Still, once Arino slows down a bit, he makes it to the end safely. Of course, stage 6-B is comparitively harder, with longer leaps to take across long stretches of spikes. Arino does make one particularly impressive jump thatends with him grabbing the edge of a platform, saving his bacon.
The world 6 boss is an angry polar bear (of course!), who tosses big blocks of ice at Arino (of course!). But the ice breaks into smaller pieces that also hurt, and that’s enough to kill Arino several times before he even manages to get a hit in. Some mild button-mashing as the bear closes in is what ends the thing, oddly enough.
World 7 brings things back to normal, somewhat, with a regular-looking grassland. Arino hitches a ride on a boy’s balloon, and it’s a quick trip to 7-B. There, Arino struggles against a stream just so he can jump one square up to a platform with the exit door, but damned if he can do it — the physics aren’t helping him.
Finally, he goes back a bit and hops on another platform. In a little bit, he reaches the boss, a giant fish (it’s always birds or fish, isn’t it?). After hitting it enough, Arino watches as it turns to a skeleton and shoots some scales. Crazily enough, he wins.
And now, the final world. 8-A is the castle where the villain holds the princess, and it’s a crazy series of booby traps. Arino makes it through, though, and in a dramatic turn for the game, Jerry crashes through the cathedral windows to drop in on the magician just as the princess is about to marry the wrong guy!
The magician turns everbody into one big pink evil slime, that also spits out smaller enemies. Arino leaps over the boss, but the walls are lined with spikes, and a too-long jump gets him killed. On the second try, the boss swallows Arino and spits him out, which naturally hurts, but then, Arino’s on the offensive. He repeatedly hits the boss as soon as he’s open, and a few seconds is all it takes.
8-B begins, and for what’s supposed to be the final stage, it’s apparently a fairly easy maze of pipes, and not a lot of platforming. Arino reaches a point that feels like the penultimate section, and so he stocks up a full supply of balls before climbing up a long shaft.
Arino encounters the villain, Majisto, once more. This time, he just hops around tossing energy balls at Arino. He can deflect them with his regular balls, but nothing’s really being accomplished. When the boss clones himself three times, that’s when Arino is finally overwhelmed. The deaths stack up, forcing Arino to go through the entire stage multiple times. Hey, it might have been easy, but it was long.
Arino "beats" Majisto on the fourth try, but then, the bastard just hops up again and shoots arc-shaped patterns of energy balls. Once Arino survives that, Majisto summons a full-on demon to fire even more energy balls.
After another death, Arino keeps it up, survives the attacks from the demon, and watches as Majisto lowers himself back down. Seizing the opportunity, Arino runs up and pumps balls into the villain, finally destroying him. Jerry’s back to normal, and Arino gets a good ending for once!
This time we find Arino by the Shimbashi train station to check out the New Shimbashi Building, a multilevel indoor mall that’s a frequent midday hangout for the local salarymen, and with a couple of game centers, as well.
Arino walks by the building’s juice bars and tie shops and enters the first arcade, Jambo, which is on the second floor. He walks into the corner and finds something odd: An arcade machine with a PlayStation 2 controller attached! The machine is Winning Eleven Arcade Championship 2010 — two machines, actually, both with PS2 pad support for more natural control. Arino gets AD Takahashi to join him in a game, and the two begin the match.
Arino doesn’t do too well, as you might guess, as he fails to figure out the buttons. Needless to say, he doesn’t get anywhere, so he just leaves Takahashi to take care of things while the rest of the arcade is explored. There he finds a machine for Super World Stadium 2001, an old Namco baseball game that doesn’t have much special in it, but damn if Arino still struggles. He nearly hits a home run, but it’s a little too high, and it lands right in the other team’s hands.
But that’s short-lived; soon, Arino is hitting home run after home run, racking up points like a pro, but quits while he’s ahead, and once again leaves Takahashi to take over for him. After that, a few doors down, is another arcade, Royal. Right in the middle is Time Crisis 4, Namco’s well-worn light gun shooter.
Arino and Takahashi team up to shoot down the bad guys, but they’re barely in it for a minute before a Game Over. They feed some more coins in, but they still don’t last all that long. And, yep, Arino gives up and leaves Takahashi behind.
Next up is Lode Runner, the ancient arcade version that Arino finds in a standard cabinet. Takahashi shows up a minute later, and the two spend the rest of the time enjoying s bit of lode running.
To Catch a Catch Copy
This part of the game leads off with an ad says "Together with Mario, we become stronger." Well, it’s certainly a Mario game, but which of the ones in the pile? Tojima guesses Dr. Mario, since fighting viruses makes you stronger, right? Nope. Arino picks Golf Japan Course, but he’s wrong, too. Nakayama clinches it by picking Super Mario Bros. 3.
Next, a rather colloquial tagline about doing what’s gots to be done. Tojima picks Ikki, just due to the countryside slang in the tagline. And he’s right! That was quick.
Lastly, which game called itself "very hard, but still really fun?" Could be anything. Arino picks Transformers, but that’s not it. Nakayama wins it by picking Obake no Q-Taro (Chubby Cherub), which seems like a weird choice, but he’s right! That puts Nakayama in the lead with his two wins
Game Collections: 1991: January – February