Game Center CX Season 14 – Back to Contents
Unbelievably, a Shooting Game! "Super Star Force"
Episode #111 is also the first GCCX of 2011, and what opens the show’s eighth year but a callback to its first: Super Star Force. Arino challenged the original Star Force way back in season 1, and this would make the second ever shooting game featured in full on the show. Can Arino get through all eight stages?
Stage 1 begins much like the original Star Force did, though the land below is organic rather than a bunch of space station-type stuff. Before long, Arino encounters the midboss: Elga Lalios, a new form of Lalios, the midboss from the original where you can get a big point bonus by shooting and destroying it just as its eye blinks. He fails, naturally, but continues through the stage.
He soon enters a black screen — a shop, perhaps, and for 200 credits he buys… something?! A red panel? All it does is warp him to another part of the stage, and indeed, these will become useful later, but not now. He enters another shop; a more proper place with real items, but then he exits, runs into an enemy and dies. Suddenly, he finds another warp panel and is taken to another black screen, with one warp to Gordess, the evil presence you must destroy, for 3,000 points.
Arino goes for it, and he’s suddenly taken to the next stage, "DA 1608." (Turns out he had to go to that warp screen to go to the next stage, anyway.) It’s a little bit harder due to enemies that send back shrapnel after being destroyed. He gets another Game Over, and is bumped back to stage one. But when he goes back to that very first warp room, a panel leading to1608 is now available. He wastes no time heading for it, but then dies again in the same stage.
Back in 2010, Arino finds a hidden entrance to a cave, and suddenly the game turns into an on-foot action-adventure. More parts like these make up the second half of Super Star Force, where Arino must avoid the enemies in the dungeons and find special items needed to complete the game with the best ending.
Arino dashes through the cave avoiding (sometimes dying from) the enemies crawling around, and experimenting with weapons and whatnot. Eventually, after playing around with the submenu and being bumped back to the shooting mode mysteriously, he reaches for the instruction manual. He discovers that he’s kicked out of dungeons when his "time pieces" — the "T" number in the corner of the screen that represents the score/money — reach zero, usually from touching enemies. Welp, back to shooting, then.
Arino returns to the dungeon and enters a new room with a giant space ape midboss (or something). He defeats it easily, then goes forward and collects his first of the special items. But then, he’s killed and booted back out.
Arino gets back on his feet, gets the treasures, and continues shooting through the stage. He warps to the next stage, 1301. He enters a cave and learns a hint about a giant egg. A little further through the level, and he spots it — a giant pink egg. He shoots it immediately, and though it gives no direct effect, it is crucial to proceed.
Arino enters the next dungeon, which is a bit more metallic, defeats a midboss, then enters a shop room with a special ship upgrade… that costs over 7,000 time pieces, which he doesn’t have. He dies, finds another dungeon, gets another special item, but is left with 70 time pieces. Needless to say, he dies as soon as he exits the item cave.
Eventually, perhaps by sheer luck, Arino finds another cave with the special item he needs, and then we jump ahead to the fourth stage, 1003. He barely gets to the first dungeon, though, because he keeps dying over and over. Just when things start getting sad, AD Katayama jumps in and offers Arino a helpful controller: either the Hudson Joystick or the Joycard. Since the Joycard has turbo-fire switches, Arino immediately chooses that one. Arino starts all over from stage 1, and the Joycard proves to be a godsend. He even destroys Lalios!
We jump ahead to stage three, where Arino fares better with the Joycard, but only slightly — he still gets Game Overs. And just when he starts doing better, he dies just pixels away from the warp panel. He makes it the next time, though.
Arino enters an island "dungeon" and hits a dead end with a single tree. Or does he? He plants a bomb, and the tree blows up, revealing a cave entrance. He’s proud of himself for that one. Eventually he finds the special item, and gets the hell outta there, fully completing stage 3.
Back to 1003, where Arino hits a warp panel that takes him to stage 5. Here, the keeps dying some more. Katayama returns to tell him there are a few power-up items that he can find and will help him through the stage. Unfortunately, he has to do quite a bit of backtracking. He goes back to stage 1 to get a shield item, and then to stage 2 to get the Pulser, which enhances rapid-fire.
With those upgrades, the shooting part of stage 5 is a breeze — now all Arino has to do is find the main dungeon entrance. He uncovers it, but is ambushed and forced to retreat. When he does get in, the hint in the cave directs him back to stage 3 to pick up another item, then back to stage 5 to enter the dungeon.
It’sa big one, and he dies a few times, which probably more annoying than ever, given the size of the caves. But determination earns him the special item, and then he goes back to stage 4 to do the same.
Arino warps to stage 6, where the enemies are lightning fast, and so are his deaths. He crawls to the warp panel, though, and reaches stage 7. The background is pretty ominous, with lots of volcanoes and whatnot. Once again, he dies just before the warp panel, but he can’t stop now.
He reaches the panel again, and just a bit up ahead is the boss: Gordess! Arino concentrates on dodging Gordess’ hail of bullets, as well as activating a new shield when the last one dies. As soon as he deals the final hit, the screen immediately flashes to the ending screen. Well, one of the ending screens. The bad one. Arino got every one of the special items, except stage 7’s, so he can’t properly beat the game and go on to the eighth stage.
AD Katayama comes back and tells Arino the bad news, but he has extra help: a Star Force strategy guide, which will tell him exactly how to get those special items in every stage. Arino hunkers down and begins the quest, warping back and forth between stages and raiding dungeons like a pro.
He gets back to stage 7’s dungeon, where he needs to survive. He has plenty of time points — over 40,000 — but after 10 hours at the helm, who knows what will happen. He reaches the midboss, and brute forces his way past it to grab the special item. Back to the ship, then.
Arino almost dies before reaching Gordess, and uses up his last shield. Can he do it this time? The battle begins, and he loses the shield almost immediately. Uh oh. Drones placed below Gordess fire more bullets at Arino, and the pressure rises. He defeats those, though, and just stays calm. Unfortunately, calm only goes so far, and he loses his last life, getting a Game Over.
Just as he gets back to Gordess, he’s handed the clock. This will have to be his last attempt before everybody packs it up for the day. He heads back into the battle, and this time, staff members are yelling "Shield!" to remind him not to die. Shields are up, and he destroys Gordess again. The ending message is different, and after that, Arino is warped to the eighth stage.
With tons of bullets and speedy enemies, Arino’s up against a lot in this stage. Once again he’s reminded to put up his shield, but an ambush takes away his life. And then the next two. Game Over for real. Welp, Arino regretfully gives up, but at least everybody, most of all him, is content that he’s just not that great at shooters.
Just off the highway in Saitama is the site of this week’s TamaGe adventure: Plaza Capcom, a big, fancy game center obviously owned by Capcom. There are plenty of chain arcades in Japan owned by the big cgame companies, but curiously, Arino hasn’t been to many of them on the show.
So why not visit the house that Street Fighter built? Coincidentally, once Arino steps through the front door, the display that greets customers is a re-creation of the M. Bison stage from SFII, and on the actual game floor, Street Fighter characters and other iconography decorate the walls.
As usual, Arino warms up with some prize catchers. He starts with WaiWai Clipper, a machine that uses two widely-set spatula-like arms to grab prizes — which, in this case, are giant Rilakkuma dolls. Arino repeatedly tries to grasp the bear’s bun-shaped head — over 20 tries, in fact, so you know he wants it. But he soon gives up and checks out some of the retro games.
He sits down at Capcom’s own Tenchi wo Kurau II (Warriors of Fate), but as soon as he starts the game, AD Katayama comes over and presents Arino with that Rilakkuma. It only took him one try to get it. Of course. Nevertheless, Arino is grateful, takes the plush, and it’s his companion for the rest of the visit.
He plays just a little bit of Warriors of Fate, then continues on to another part of the arcade. There he spots a familiar face hunched over a machine: good old former AD Nakayama! He just happens to be playing Street Fighter! Street Fighter 1, that is. Arino sits down to spar with Nakayama — he’s Ken, Nakayama is Ryu. Nakayama wins the first one by Time Over; Arino wins the next one easily, and then the third!
The two move on to Super Street Fighter IV. Nakayama chooses Yun, and Arino goes with his trusty Dhalsim. Nakayama lays down a hearty beating for the first two rounds, but Arino amazingly performs Dhalsim’s ultra combo, and whittles down Nakayama just enough to win the third round. He repeats it for the fourth, and they’re tied. Arino whiffs the ultra, and Nakayama finishes him off. Oh well! They agree to play one more match.
To Catch a Catch Copy
The first catch copy in this installment imagines a father yelling "checkmate!" at three in the morning. Arino grabs the cartridge for Morita Shogi, and… he’s right! Right off the bat!
The next one references the fight of a "hungry wolf." Tojima grabs Senjou no Okami (Wolf of the Battlefield; Commando), but he’s wrong. Arino picks a sumo game with a similarly-nicknamed wrestler on the cover, but that’s not it either. Even Nakayama is wrong with Operation Wolf. Turns out it’s referring to Family Boxing (Ring King)… and Arino picks that one. Not bad!
The last ad has an obvious sumo reference. Arino picks the sumo game he did last time, but that’s not it. Tojima picks another sumo game from Jaleco, but nope. Nakayama goes with Tecmo’s Tsuppari Ozumo, and that’s the winner. Process of elimination, eh? Clever.
Game Collections: 1991: April – June