Game Center CX Season 2 – Back to Contents
Let’s Play "Solomon’s Key," Mon
For a change of pace, Arino is given the action-puzzle game Solomon’s Key. It’s 50 "rooms" of making and erasing blocks, which already seems like too much for Arino to handle. However, he’s quick to adapt, and blazes (relatively) through the first few levels, taking just half an hour to get to room 10. The puzzle here throws a wrench in things for a few minutes, but once Arino figures out the simple pattern to get over the flames, it’s smooth going… until room 20, which is covered in "monster" spaces that can’t have blocks put over them.
Arino tries to carefully devise a way to get up to the exit. 20 minutes pass. Arino makes a leap of faith to the one block that will pave the path to the door, and he makes it! The pace quickens, and even Arino takes notice of the fact. He breaks into the 40s, getting within arm’s reach of the end. He has to get the game in the bag by 10:30 PM due to another appearance elsewhere. Unfortunately, room 43 throws a wrench in things. Eventually he’s handed the wall clock, which reads 10:35. "You were supposed to tell me before 10:30!" He says with a laugh. The game will have to end for this night.
Arino returns the next day. Room 43 is tackled again, but he continues to lose. The game’s hitch is that if you use the continue code after room 41, you’ll start at 41 instead of the room you were on. This raises this stakes. Arino calls over Sasano to try and chart out a plan of attack. Arino writes the steps down (nine of ’em) on the whiteboard and tries one more time. A series of perfectly-timed jumps and block-creating make an easy path to the goal. Success!
Arino breezes through the next few rooms without dying, but fails at room 46 and is kicked back to 41. Eventually he makes it through with Sasano’s impeccable timing. however, the real bugger of the game turns out to be room 48. It’s a screen-wide maze of blocks and flames that looks near impassable. Arino immediately pauses the game and starts thinking it over. A few bouts of trial and error lead to exasperation.
Arino and Sasano go for broke and reproduce the entire map of the stage on the whiteboard. The two plot out the path section-by-section. Arino uses daring edge-jumping techniques to get up to the upper part of the map, and Sasano helps chart out the next part. Arino drops down and gets the key, but it’s in a narrow well and the exit is just two spaces above. Arino moves back down to the bottom and tries to make it back up in the wake of his mess, but he dies due to a Time Over. But in this game, if you get the key before you die, the door is automatically opened on your next life. Therefore, it’s an easy second try getting to the exit. That didn’t seem so hard after all.
Arino finally makes it to room 50. The final item is the book of Solomon. Crazy blind luck gets Arino down to the bottom of the stage, and from there it’s simple timing to get through the enemy projectiles and up to the book. 13 hours of gameplay end here. As the ending itself says, "peace will be our’s [sic] forever."
Arino heads to another quaint game center, this one in Matsudo and with a casino-like atmosphere. The name? Game in Meckman. He walks up the stairs near the entrance and the first game he encounters is a life-size novelty called Ninja Web, where you must hit a tacky painting of a ninja in the right places. It’s little more than a passing fancy as Arino moves on to the actual video games. He tries Taito’s flight sim game Landing Gear, then the Sega classics Hang-On Jr. and Quartet. He then finds Sega’s odd shooter Danger Zone, but he can’t seem to get it to work no matter how many coins he puts in (the machine taunts him by saying "thank you" after each coin). Eventually he finds the start button, except it’s broken off.
Arino moves on to an electronic roulette game and wins a prize from the display case. Since the center happens to have Arino’s trademark squid sticks, he grabs a canister of those. Success! Also in the center is a row of Nintendo VS. games. Arino and AD Sasano play a round of Baseball, and afterward Arino finds Ice Climber, the game mentioned in the viewer’s postcard. The segment ends with Arino sitting at the machine, failing wonderfully.
I’d Like to Meet This Man: Sugaya Mitsuru
Mitsuru is the creator of the classic manga/anime series Game Center Arashi. Arino sits down in Sugaya’s studio to talk about the series and the character of Arashi. Sugaya’s favorite game is the original Heiankyo Alien, which he still plays on his PC. At the end, Sugaya gives Arino a signed drawing of Arashi.
Game Collections: Kemco