Game Center CX Season 15 – Back to Contents
Corporate Warrior KACHO?! "Bio Warrior DAN"
Of all the legendary bad (or at least average) games Arino has tackled, one slipped through the cracks… until now. Jaleco’s Bio Warrior DAN (which almost came out in America as Bashi Bazook) was an action game that’s filled with weird imagery, and is also a bit confusing at times. Can Arino, as Dan, get through all five areas?
Dan is a soldier from the far-flung future who must travel through various time periods that have been overrun by aliens, and the first stage is in 1999, which is definitely overrun… it might as well be the last of stage of Contra, inside the alien world. As usual, Arino gets a feel for the controls before jumping right in, and discovers Dan can get on his knees and crawl, and also has a funny expression when he gets hit. Arino walks through the stage, finding windowpanes that act as warp doors, but then later on, walks into a merchant’s house, who offers him a weapon upgrade. Arino has enough "Energy" to buy it, so he gets the Heat Knife upgrade, that lets him sling his sword blade.
Soon after, Arino enters the dwelling of an alien creature that offers a key item if Arino can beat him in a sumo match. He gives it a go, and suddenly the game switches to a side-view sumo game where Arino and the alien try and push each other back. Arino hammers on the "A" button, and slowly nudges the alien back to the edge of the screen, but doesn’t win — instead, the match times out, though you wouldn’t know that to begin with. Arino tries to go back in, but the alien won’t let him fight anymore.
Arino moves on, finding a hotel of some sort that lets him chill out, and then a wise old wizard who says Arino should have the Spider Shot before fighting the boss. Arino probably doesn’t have that, but he goes forward a few screens until he reaches the boss room, with a fight against a large yellow dinosaur thing. He keeps hitting it with the Heat Knife, but eventually is overwhelmed and killed, and is forced to continue at the start of stage 1.
Wondering about that Spider Shot, Arino goes back to the wrestling alien, thinking that he’ll get the Shot if he wins the match. But more stressful button-mashing leads to another time-out. Nevertheless, he moves on, and stumbles upon a hidden room with a computer that’s offering up the Spider Shot! Arino finally gets the weapon, and tries it out. It fires a shot, that’s for sure, but also takes away a couple of energy points each time he uses it.
Arino heads back to the boss and immediately begins pumping it with Spider Shot bullets. The enemy’s energy is quickly depleted, but Arino is still killed, and right before he would have won, too! He restarts again, trying the wrestling match one more time, this time rubbing his knuckles on both buttons — that does it, but his prize is just 160 Energy.
For a third time, Arino heads to the boss, but is still killed before he succeeds. Or is he? Right after dying, the game just blips him back to the same room, where the boss is gone, even though it says he had 88 points of health left. A glitch? Ah, probably not — Arino heads through the exit window, but that just loops him right back to the hall before the boss room, where he has to do it all over again!
The good news is that the boss’ depleted health is mostly still there — over 200 points instead of 80+, but still enough for Arino to finally finish the job. And that does it for stage 1!
Onto stage 2 now. Arino gets hit often, being left with just one bar of health, so he tries to take things slow, but ends up killed anyway. He continues where he left off, keeps on exploring, then finds another boss room with a big red snake creature, and manages to defeat it in one go. Thanks, Spider Shot!
Stage 3 begins, but Arino wonders if he missed another item on the last stage, like with stage 1. He checks the manual and look through the gallery of weapons. He reads an entry for Pulser Bee, a weapon that is only available in stage 2. The Smart Bomb is also helpful… but is also only in stage 2. Arino’s heart sinks a little; he didn’t buy either of those. Now what?
Arino gets a couple of Game Overs after that anyway, then runs out of his five continues, shoving him back to the beginning of the game. He pushes through to stage 2 again, and continues exploring, until he ends up in another wiseman’s cave, too close to the boss room, and realizes he forgot all about the special items! Ah, the hardships of old age.
The boss fight is a success, but it’s not exactly what Arino wanted originally. He takes a moment, then unsatisfyingly flips the Famicom off and then back on. We then go back to stage 2, where Arino finds a hidden passage, crawls through a little cave, then finds a shady dealer willing to part with a Smart Bomb. Arino gladly hands over the cash (er, Energy), then continues on through the stage. He finds another hidden passage with another merchant selling the Pulser Bee.
Then, finally, he makes it to the boss.The Pulser shots are pretty powerful, and the boss is defeated even faster than before. Now that he’s properly powered-up, Arino happily heads to stage 3. There he buys the Rolling Shot (a kind of shield weapon), and then makes it to the boss — where he’s quickly killed, because he had just one bar of health left.
The second attempt against the boss lasts longer, but is still a failure. On the next attempt, he resorts to crawling awound on the ground, for some reason, to stay out of the boss’ falling projectiles. Arino slowly tosses Pulser beams until the boss is finally gone. That’s all she wrote! For stage 3, I mean!
Stage 4 takes things outside, in a level that’s unfortunately reminscent of the "ruins" level from Ninja Gaiden — including the small-platform jumping and the beyond-annoying birds that ram into Arino. After a few deaths, Arino uses the Rolling Shot to better protect himself, but then the birds just push him off to his death. Before long, it’s Game Over, with the last continue spent. Stage 1, here we come…
40 minutes later, Arino is back to stage 4. He smartly uses the Spider Shot to shoot far away enemies, then the Rolling Shot to eliminate the birds. But then he gets close to the door for the next section, when he’s killed by a bird again. On the next try, he makes it through, and finally gets to a part with more solid ground.
Soon, Arino enters an inn that offers to help him "transorm." What does that mean? Well, when he goes for it, Arino exits the inn as a big, green beastman. Turns out he had to do that anyway, as when he’s in that form, he can punch and destroy blocks that are impeding his path. Once that’s done, he enters another hotel that changes him back. Just in time for the boss! Hey, no, wait–
Arino is killed by the boss in seconds, though it seemed he had the right idea: lobbing bombs at the boss as it swooped in close. He dies again, but after that, he stays alive long enough to win.
Stage 5 awaits! The final battle! Well, amost; first, Arino has to run around the stage and destroy three hearts inside the alien fortress. He’s killed early and often in stupid ways (like mistimed attacks), so it’s slow going for a little while, leading to another continue-less Game Over. He restarts the slog for stage 5, but this time actually reaches a room with one of the big hearts! He just has no idea which weapon to use. After being killed, he goes with the Smart Bomb again, and that seems to be the trick — the heart is destroyed in seconds.
He soon finds the second heart and wipes that away too. For the third heart, the hint Arino has to go on only refers to a wall, and the fact it’s hidden in one of the walls. Arino jumps and whacks any big wall he can find, but comes up short. But then, after he exits a hotel at some point in the stage, he runs under a flying enemy that pushes him forward into the wall — through the wall, even! He found the secret passage without even trying! Capitalizing on the moment, Arino immediately exclaims "I thought so!"
Sadly, he dies from that battle with the last heart, so he’s forced to crawl back. He slings more bombs, but is again killed in a flash. And another final Game Over bears down. After trekking through the entire game again, he reaches the third heart and finally defeats it.
But now the pressure’s on! After the last heart is defeated, Arino watches the MV meter ("Mother Vitality") slowly climb. The final boss is powering up, but it’s nowhere to be found! Arino immediately dashes back through the stage trying to find any hint of where to go. After the MV meter reaches 500, Arino finds a door that warps him to the final area.
But here, the final boss is a giant, crawling monster that Arino must jump onto and into to defeat the main heart. It’s kind of like those annoying cannon stages in Super Mario Bros. 3. Arino manages to make it inside the monster without much harm, and then reaches the big heart at the end.
It fires big glowing projectiles, which also hurt a lot, but Arino tries his best to avoid them while throwing bombs at the heart. He loses, so it’s back to the beginning of the big monster. He has just a few bars of health left, so he crawls forward — then dies instantly. He went too far while the screen was still scrolling. Then he dies again just before the heart. Game Over.
He does have three continues left, though, so it’s an easy re-running through stage 5 before getting back to the final boss. This time he’s at full health, and only loses a third of it before reaching the heart again — but then dies because he was at the edge of the screen again.
The deaths continue to pile up. Arino spends another continue, heads back through stage 5, and re-encounters the heart with half health. This time he uses the powered-up laser sword and very nearly kills the boss, then dies himself. More stupid deaths after that earn him another Game Over. Time now for the final attempt with the last continue.
He sticks with the laser sword, but dies just when the boss has 10 points of health left! OK, this time has to be the one, right? Actually, it damn well better be — when Arino restarts, the MV meter is still at 10! It’s in the bag! He crawls through the monster again and reaches the boss. He jumps, and lets loose with one sword attack.
And, yep, that’s all she wrote. After 12 and a half hours, Arino completes one of the more notorious Famicom games, and even gets to see a goofy-faced Dan being kissed at the end.
Something a little different from the candy shops from the last few episodes: a cafe called Charade, run by an old woman and her husband.
It has but one video game, in use as a cocktail table — Love Chance Gold, a slot machine game. Arino plunks in a 100-yen coin and links up a few lemons to get a Double Up. After that, he can bet on cards in a game of Hi-Lo for an added bonus. With a better understanding of the game, he goes for another try, but loses the card game this time.
Arino tries the next machine, which is Kodomo Fuku Gacha-Gacha — literally a capsule machine with kids’ clothes. Arino is ready to put the required 1,000 yen in, but then is instructed to use an older 1,000 yen bill, as the newer ones won’t be recognized. He trades the bill, then uses the machine. Nothing pops out, though — the old lady has to grab an item from a bag below. OK, well, then, Arino’s prize is a pink tank top. Well, at least he has a daughter who might like it.
Arino then tries to get the old lady’s name, but she’s not ready to give it up. He teases her for a few minutes, but then, to cap things off, Arino has an egg sandwich. He asks the old lady for her number, that doesn’t work, either.
For this installment, Arino and Nishiyama read from Chrono Trigger, specifially the introduction of Frog into the party, when Lucca asks for his name, and he just says "Frog" is fine.
Game Collections: 1991: December