Game Center CX Season 14 – Back to Contents
And Now, Once Again… "Rockman 4: The New Evil Ambition!!"
It is time once again for Arino to face one of his greater punishments — a Mega Man game. The first three in the series have come and gone, but now Mega Man 4 rears its ugly head. It’s not the best one, but it is pretty challenging. However, Arino has managed to finish two of its predecessors, so maybe there’s some hope for him here.
But before he chooses one of the eight stages, AD Katayama comes by with a good bit of help upfront. When he was playing the game, Katayama figured out the best order in which to take on the bosses — of course, as in all Mega Man games, boss weapons can destroy certain other bosses faster than others. The AD writes down his winning formula on the whiteboard, and Arino follows it by choosing Toad Man’s stage first.
Toad Man may be the easiest boss to take on first, but his stage is immediately tricky. A constant downpour of rain pushes Arino back when he attempts to jump over a gap, thus forcing him down into a pit of death. After retrying, Arino continues through the stage and encounters a miniboss, the giant robot snail Escargot. It lobs bombs at Arino, and only its eyes are vulnerable — when they’re open. Arino dies quickly from the miniboss, and then several more times when he retries the stage.
After a Game Over, Arino re-engages Escargot and finally destroys it. But then, a few screens later, a second Escargot appears! With added currents of water acting like conveyor belts, Arino is disoriented enough to die a few more times. His hands are already hurting! On the next try, he destroys the second Escargot, and groans with relief — and we’re not even half there!
Finally, though, Arino does make it to the boss room to face Toad Man. The downside is that he has just a morsel of health left. He pauses and looks at the manual to try and find some help, and discovers that Mega Man’s new ability in MM4 is the Charge Shot, a now-standard ability that allows him to fire a powered-up Mega Buster beam. But once Arino unpauses, he’s killed.
Arino also learns (or re-learns) Mega Man’s slide move which might help when avoiding Toad Man’s hops, but once again, he’s killed by the boss’ Rain Flush attack. On the third attempt, Arino is at full health, and nearly catches Toad Man in a pattern. He gets the boss down to a sliver of health, and just before dying himself, Toad Man is finally destroyed!
Next is Bright Man’s stage. This one is even more treacherous, with small platforms that swing back and forth in an arc above the bottomless pits. Arino repeatedly slips off of them or misses the jumps to the next platforms. One section before the boss is particularly frustrating, but enough concentration gets Arino past it.
And then, Bright Man. Arino wastes no time in activating the Rain Flush to cause Bright Man to short out, but the boss still gets the best of him thanks to some erratic hopping and a time-stopping attack. On the second try, Arino does better, but then runs out of Rain Flush power, leaving him to clean up with the Mega Buster. He succeeds, fortunately, and the Flash Stopper is his.
Pharaoh Man’s stage folows, and there are more annoying jumps that must be made. A hallway of spiked floors early on causes the most pain, but he makes it to the boss without a lot of deaths. Arino meets Pharaoh Man and instantly hits him with the Flash Stopper, following up with a barrage of Buster shots. When down to just a sliver of health and Stopper power, Arino pelts Pharaoh Man’s head enough times to win.
Ring Man’s stage is no less of a pain, with disappearing platforms that pull the proverbial rug out from under Arino. The second half of the stage, with longer platforms that require longer leaps, are emblematic of this.
Arino makes it to Ring Man, again with almost no health. He pauses to try out the Flash Stopper, then unpauses right as Ring Man’s ring flies into him and kills him. On the second try, Arino’s about a third of health left when the staff finally just yells at him, "E Tank, E Tank, E Tank!" He has seven of them, after all. Arino refills his life, but even though he’s tapped of Flash power, he switches to the Buster. Still, Ring Man continues to hurt him, so he spends a second E Tank. It’s not enough; Ring Man rams into him and kills him again.
Third time’s a charm. Arino continues using up E Tanks to try and stay alive, as well as using any of his other weapons to try and put a dent into the boss’ health. Finally, after using up the Pharoah Shot and couple more tanks, Arino finally destroys Ring Man with the Mega Buster.
Arino goes after Dust Man after that, and this time, slowdown complicates the jumping across the stage’s dangerous paths. Later on, he tries to get past a gauntlet of giant trash compactors, some with walls of garbage that he must shoot through to get past. He almost dies — not from the compactors, but from Mettools firing at him. He spends the last E Tank and pushes though.
Dust Man awaits not long after that. Arino repeatedly fires Ring Boomerangs at the oversized garbage bin, but is once again killed by the boss just running into him. At this point, he decides the only way he’s going to get through this is with E Tanks, so Arino backs out of the stage and goes back to Pharaoh Man’s stage, revisiting the one spot early on where there’s an easily accessible E Tank. Once he’s up to 9, Arino heads back to Dust Man.
Of course, he needs to use a tank before he gets to the boss, but there’s plenty left. Once he reaches Dust Man, he constantly shoots rings into the boss with much better efficiency, defeating the robot in no time.
Skull Man is the next target. Reaching the boss room is fairly easy, and Arino begins shooting Dust Man’s junk beam into the skeletal enemy. An E Tank must be used, but it’s a quick victory otherwise, and the Skull Barrier is his.
Arino heads to Dive Man’s underwater lair after that, and has some trouble against the miniboss Moby, a giant robo-whale. He ends up using the Flash Stopper to make it easier for him. Still, he has only one life left, and he uses another tank on his way to the boss room. Dive Man is pretty tough for Arino, but he shouldn’t be — the kacho is trying every weapon except the Skull Barrier, and that strategy is barely putting dents in Dive Man.
On the fifth try (and after a replenishment of E Tank stock), Arino just opts for the Mega Buster. He moves to the Dust Crusher, and this time aims it properly and defeats Dive Man in a flash. Well then.
The final boss to defeat is Drill Man, and when Arino meets him, he has trouble aiming the Dive Missile at the boss. Drill Man frequently burrows into the ground and pops up to attack, which catches Arino off-guard a few times, even when he’s jumping around trying to avoid getting hit. Before long, the Dive Missile energy is depleted, so Arino switches to the Dust Buster as Drill Man just has a tiny bit of health left. Unfortunately, Drill Man burrows down and stays there for a while, surprising Arino when he least expects it and kills him.
The next try is also slow-going, but the Pharaoh Shot makes a good backup weapon. This time, Arino isn’t surprised as much, and fires the Pharaoh Shot at Drill Man whenever he pops up. The Drill Bomb and Rush Jet are Arino’s rewards. But of course, the game is far from over! Arino must now assault the castle of Dr. Cossack, the main villain (*snort*) of Mega Man 4.
Cossack Stage 1 starts off icy, as Arino tries to keep traction while hopping over gaps. He ain’t perfect, but he does manage to get through the stage without too many deaths. The Rush Jet helps in reaching a farway ladder, but Arino misses, then falls all the way down the long vertical section into a bottomless pit. He laughs, but not sincerely.
He gets to the end of the stage and faces the boss, Mothraya. This weird-looking robot seems easiest to beat with the Drill Bomb, but Arino still has to avoid its beams and giant drill that tries to impale Arino. Our hero camps in the corner and fires the Bombs, but eventually dies from a missed jump.
AD Katayana returns to give some more advice — two points of advice, but Arino must choose which one: how to beat Mothraya, or where to find an E Tank in the stage. Arino thinks hard, then chooses to know where the E Tank is. He restarts the stage, begins going forward, then Katayama tells him to go the other way. The E Tank is hidden right at the edge of the screen where you can’t even see it. Arino gets it, then heads back to Mothraya.
He needs to use the E Tank during the fight, of course, but manages to get the boss down to low health. A couple of Drill Bombs later, and it’s over!
Stage 2, now, and Arino makes it to a room with an E Tank in plain sight. The Drill Bomb knocks down the wall in front of it, and that means more energy goodness. Eventually, he makes it to the boss, a giant cage, the Square Machine, that moves in two independent parts, then reforms and fires beams. Arino must try not to get squeezed as it moves around, but also must make sure to get inside the square so he can attack its bulbous core. The Drill Bomb is used, but Arino’s aim is off, and it’s a lot of wasted shots and an eventual death.
The second time works well, though, and Arino uses E Tanks and Bombs to good effect. Once that’s down, Arino plows through stage 3 and faces the next boss, a wall crawler that hangs out on the ceiling. It’s destroyed easily with Pharoah Shots, but then a second bugger appears from the bottom. It, too, is killed quickly, luckily for Arino.
And then the final Cossack stage, which is a short trip to the boss fight against Dr. Cossack and his claw-equipped mecha pod. The pod grabs Arino and damages him heavily, and Arino fails to really make a dent in the doctor before dying. The second attempt is the same sad story. On the third try, Arino at least starts to use the slide move to avoid the claw better, but still has to use an E Tank to stay in the game. After a few more moments of this cat-and-mouse game, Arino almost destroys the machine, but is halted. Not by death, but by Kalinka, Dr. Cossack’s daughter!
Oh no, Dr. Cossack was tricked by Dr. Wily! And there’s Dr. Wily now! But forget another boss fight — Arino must now play three more stages inside Dr. Wily’s castle. Unfortunately, that’s just about when he’s handed the clock. He’s so close, but will he give up? Nope, Arino’s in this for the long haul, and decides to continue the fight for a second day.
It’s a cold and rainy day when we see Arino out by a highway in Chiba, there to visit the tiny game center Chiba-Kita Skyland. Besides the arcade stuff, Skyland also has a small sports park, with a batting center, fishing ponds, a minibike course, and more.
Arino steps in the back to try out the center’s pitching game, but is startled when the machine lobs him a ball. He only manages to hit one of the targets, but the game is called "Perfect Pitch," so when Arino gets a printed results card, he just takes it to mean that he did play a perfect game. Sure, why not.
Inside, Arino moves on to a crane game and tries to get a teddy bar, but fails. The manager, who’s been following him around the whole time, directs Arino to another set of crane games, filled with more edible treats. Arino gets a couple candies, at least. Next to that machine is another one filled with packs of cookies. Arino almost gets the big pack, but doesn’t. The manager, being nice, opens the machine and tries to position the package right on the edge of the prize shaft, and on Arino’s next try, he nudges it right off and down into the hole.
Then, the video games. Arino starts with Salaryman Champ, a simple selectino of minigames. The manager gets the actual owner of Skyland over to play a game. The man sits with Arino for a game of Salaryman. In the first minigame, they must slap the buttons to chow down on a pile of curry, but the owner takes his time while Arino quickly wins it. The next one is easier, where the players just direct their descent as they fall from a cliff, and the owner gets a better landing than Arino does.
And then, a group of high school girls walk over, notice Arino, and go a little crazy, wanting him to play a game. We end with the girls watching Arino play another game of Salaryman Champ.
To Catch a Catch Copy
The first game in today’s session called itself an "international" game. Arino grabs Hect’s simulation game, American Presidential Race. He’s wrong, but then Tojima picks Hot-B’s President’s Choice. Nope. Nakayama goes with the general hunch and picks Gorby’s Pipeline, but that isn’t it, either. So what is it?:Why, it’s Wizardry, the legendary Western RPG!
Next, a game that says there’s "no crying until you reach the ending." Arino goes right for Mother (EarthBound), and he’s right!
The third and final game had an ad that said only "Adults, kids, and even big sisters." Wide appeal, huh? Tojima grabs Twinbee, but that’s incorrect. Arino again reaches forward and grabs… Mother 2! And wouldn’t you know, he’s right again.
Game Collections: 1991: July-August