Game Center CX Season 14 – Back to Contents
Even Further Toward the Top… "Rockman 4: The New Evil Ambition!!"
Last time, Arino struggled the most he has in a long time as he battled through Mega Man 4. Regardless, he came very close to the end of the game, reaching Dr. Wily’s castle, but it was then that he had to turn in for the night. Now, some days (almost months) later, Arino returns to the challenge room — and next to him in the corner, appropo of nothing, is the Picadilly Circus machine from the New Year’s special.
Time’s a-wastin’, so Arino jumps right in and begins at Wily Stage 1. Time is also not wasted on getting hurt and dying, as he fails to get rhgouh the first few screens which are crawling with Mettaurs. He creeps further, but there’s always another one of those hardhat-clad creeps to push him back. The break between challenges likely reset Arino’s skill back to zero, too.
And then, the disappearing blocks. The trademark kick-in-the-pants in any Mega Man game, and Arino has to climb a few screens full of them. He stays put and carefully studies their pattern, but someone on the staff has a second opinion about how exactly he should jump. So, Arino takes a moment, and prepares to go. He slips right off the ladder and into the spikes.
Further attempts go nowhere, and Arino even gets stuck at the other end of the room. But that’s actually when he carefully follows the pattern backwards and makes it up and out to the next screens.
A short while later, he reaches the boss. All the Mettaurs before this were a subtle message as to what Arino will be fighting: the gigantic Mettaur Daddy! After dying once, Inoko MAX alerts Arino of a tape change, so it’s time to take a break.
After that, Arino begins the second attempt, but is quickly squashed by the Daddy. On subsequent tries, he finds that the Ring Boomerang works best, but he’s still getting stomped and/or rained on by smaller Mettaurs, and he’s forced to use his E Tanks. After a few are spent, he keeps tossing rings into the boss, and it’s soon defeated.
Stage 2, now. Arino moves foward and reaches a room with an extra E Tank perched above a bed of spikes. He uses the Rush Jet to try and get up there, but Rush slowly ascends, runs into the wall, disappears, and sends Arino to his death. He aims better on the second try.
Arino makes it to the boss, and prepares himself with the Pharaoh Shot, but he has only a bit of energy, and the boss, Tako Trash, rains huge balls down on top of him. He dies, of course. Some more tries go by, and Arino expends both the Pharaoh and Ring powers. Near death, he pauses and prepares to use an E Tank, but he has only two left! Should he?! Camerman Abe says no, but once Arino unpauses, he can’t live with the reality, so he pauses again and uses a tank.
This time, Arino switches to the Drill Bomb, and its power is enough to make quick work of the boss. The next and final stage is quite brief, and it leads to a teleporter. If you know your Mega Man games, this means we’re about to enter the boss gauntlet. Indeed, Arino drops down into a small room with eight teleporters, all leading to resurrected robot masters.
Without knowing who’s in which pod, Arino blindly leaps into one that leads to Pharoah Man. Unfortunately, he’s wiped out in seconds. He tries another one that goes to Skull Man, but again, instant death. He looks to the whiteboard behind him, but it’s been erased! No more boss cheat sheet like last time!
Five attempts on Skull Man alone go by before Arino defeats him. He continues to be killed in a flash as he goes through all the other pods and each boss makes quick work of him. Just then, AD Katayama comes by, in the same E Tank shirt that AD Nakayama had in the Mega Man 3 challenge. He has some help for Arino — a way to figure out the boss weaknesses.
It’s just a little overcomplicated: Katayama presents Arino with a caption script; every word that was spoken in the last episode, as compiled by both Katayama and Inoko MAX, per their usual duties. The 200-page document has key hints highlighted for Arino as he flips through the transcription.
Arino apparently gleaned something from that script, and he moves on to Ring Man first, who he wastes in no time thanks to the Pharaoh Shot. It seems he’s locked into a pattern, as the rest of the bosses fall easily — except Dive Man, who kills Arino just as fast as before. He’s taken off-guard — going through every weapon while trying not to die. He spends an E Tank, and discovers the Dust Crusher works best. That leaves two more!
Bright Man is next, and Arino uses the Rain Flush, like the first time. Unfortunately Arino runs out of Flush energy right when Bright Man has one hit left — and so does Arino. He uses an E Tank just in case, then switches to the Drill Bomb. It’s too weak, and he’s almost dead again! Another E Tank is wasted, and then Arino just uses the Bomb again to finish off the scrap of health Bright Man had left.
Drill Man is the final rerun boss, and Arino counteracts with the Dive Missile, but Drill Man’s own heavy weapons overpower him. And now, Arino has one life left. The Missiles are useless, and Arino’s past half-health. He spends his last two E Tanks. Just when Drill Man has a sliver of health left, Arino misjudges a jump and watches as Drill Man hits him and kills him, when he clearly had the upper hand. Hurtful.
Arino begins the whole stage anew, and creatively uses the entry point to replenish his E Tanks and stay in a 1-Up loop. He goes back to the bosses, still having to use an E Tank now and then, but with a much better grip on which weapons to use. Drill Man still proves difficult, but Arino kills him after using a Tank (which was kind of a waste, even if).
He’s accidentally killed when fighting Skull Man, leaving him with two more lives. Arino tries the Ring Boomerang, but it’s no good. Skull Man continues to hop around and fire his spread gun all over the place, and the last E Tank is spent on the last life. Nothing’s working, so of course, another Game Over.
Once again, Arino travels this hall of pain, and when he gets back to Skull Man, he waits patiently for the robot’s skull shield to disappear, and then finishes him off with the Dust Crusher. Once the bosses are gone, another teleporter appears that leads Arino to Dr. Wily, to face his Wily Machine 4.
The Wily Machine’s first phase simply floats up and down and shoots big fireballs. Arino destroys the front panel with normal shots, but on the second phase, the Machine replenishes its energy. Of course! Arino continues to try and hit him with Buster shots, but that’s not working. Drill Bomb? No. Pharaoh Shot? Nah. Nothing seems to be working, not even the Rush Coil (hey, you never know).
Sadly, Arino gets a Game Over in this fight, and once again has to go through the boss gauntlet — he was hoping against hope the Wily teleporter would still be there after using a password, but it’s not to be. We’re spared the struggle, and are taken right back to Wily Machine phase two.
Arino doesn’t make much progress — he just has to jump and fire at the right time to hit the machine’s weak spot. He’s forced to use his last E Tank, but at any rate, his Buster shots seem to be doing the job. He gets the machine down to one scrap while he camps in the corner. He’s hit, but not dead yet! Arino bites the bullet, slides back to the front of the machine, jumps, fires, and wins it!
Orrrrr does he?!A silence falls over the room as the map of Wily’s castle expands to yet another stage. Arino runs the short distance to the boss room, but it’s pitch black! Wily is in another pod that charges up and fires beams from arbitrary locations. The only clue to where Wily is is at the last moment before he fires, where he appears in the proverbial muzzle flash.
Arino tries the Flash Stopper, but it’s useless. Again, he goes through the motions of every weapon. But when he uses the Pharoah Shot, he discovers that as the ball of energy is held above him, it instantly connects with Wily whenever he appears next to it. It works great! But the energy runs out just before Wily’s gone.
Arino settles with the Mega Buster as both he and Wily’s energy is matched. As close as it gets, Arino ends up the loser. On the bright side, he restarts at the same stage with all weapons full — just no E Tanks. He begins the fourth attempt, and continuously holds a Pharaoh Shot charge above his head. But this time, his life is almost gone just as Wily’s is too! He’s going to have to use some real skills.
Arino jumps over all of Wily’s beams, each one a close call that has the staff screaming. It’s no use — he falls again.
Will the fifth try finally clinch it? Seems so — Arino lucks into a good pattern, staying alive while Wily dissipates. He misses a couple shots, though, leaving him with one scrap of Pharaoh energy. He holds it as long as he can as he paces back and forth along the room.
But then, when he least expects it, the finishing hit connects! Finally, Mega Man 4 is completed, and all before dusk. Given that, Katayama returns and hands Arino the next challenge game, to be began immediately. A familiar puzzle game he chose during the New Year’s show…
Arino sits on a bench at a stop right next to today’s destination: the Tokyo German Village, a humble theme park with a bit of a Bavarian theme, but the good ol’ fashioned Japanese game center is also a part of the site. And look, they even have German flag traffic cones!
Arino heads right into the game center, which is called… Eupoland? It can’t be a reference to Poland, though Arino does wonder. Inside this long warehouse-like building is a plethora of UFO catchers and assorted video games. At the entrance, Arino is greeted by a big walking mascot — Angie, a big pink ball of pig, and the least German-looking thing here.
Arino says hi, and as he walks forward, right around corner is Angie’s soul mate, Holly, who wears a crown on his head. Arino asks to make sure it’s Holly, and a muffled voice from inside the costume confirms it. Holly then slowly sidles away, catching his nose on an air hockey table along the way.
The first game played is Hungry Animal, which Arino’s tried before. If you forgot, it’s all about throwing as many balls as you can into the mouth of a mechanical hippo as it slowly opens and closes. Arino does his best, but only scores a 17. Time for reinforcements: he calls over AD Takahashi to lend a hand. Just like before, the AD tosses balls in tandem with Arino, and together they score 34! And get a prize card.
The card allows Arino to choose a prize bag, and inside is an adorable Minnie Mouse doll, and some Hello Kitty stationery. Arino walks to the other end of the hall, and spots the ADs all gathered around World Kicks, a Namco arcade game with kickable soccer balls attached to the bottom. Arino walks up and kicks Inoko MAX in the butt, then joins in on the Japan team. The game is played with a joystick and buttons, and of course the balls are to be kicked as appropriate.
Arino manages to score a goal just by running straight into the net! On a second game, the team starts to lose 0-3, but then with Arino’s help, they start racking them up again, but after scoring 3 points of their own, Arino whiffs a goal kick, and all three of the ADs reel in disgust. Arino moves on to a crane game, but the ADs are still playing, and go into full-on cheering and clapping when another goal is scored.
To Catch a Catch Copy
For this one, the first game’s ad trumpeted having the "mystery of mysteries!" Arino immediately goes for Transformers: The Mystery of Convoy, but that’s dead wrong. Tojima picks up the original Adventures of Lolo game, but he’s wrong. Nakayama picks The Ohkhotsk ni Kiyu, the adventure game Arino recently played. Wrong again. It’s Murder on the Mississippi, the American-born graphic adventure.
Next, a game that described its enemies adapting to your skill level. Arino is first, and goes with Xevious, the shooting game that did indeed have that kind of feature. He’s wrong, though he’s on the right track. Nobody else is right, but again, Arino was warmest: the answer is Zanac, the shooter from Compile that featured "spy cameras" that monitored your progress.
Finally, an ad that talks about becoming a bird by the morning light. Arino picks Pilotwings first, and he’s right! Arino is closing in on Nakayama’s lead… believe it or not.
Game Collections: 1991: August