Game Center CX Season 3 – Back to Contents
"Kato-chan & Ken-chan" Pleasant TV Game
(A reference to their old show "Kato-chan & Ken-chan Pleasant TV")
Season 3 opens with Arino playing Virtual Boy at his desk, and then formally introducing the new season. For the occasion, he’s also been officially "promoted" to Kacho Dairi (Deputy Section Chief).
The first challenge of the season is Hudson’s Kato-chan & Ken-chan, otherwise known as JJ & Jeff in the States. Kato & Ken were a comedy duo back in the day, and this goofy platformer is full of typical Japanese gags wrapped up in a challenging game. Armed with a PC Engine Duo, Arino begins. A particularly long jump in stage 1-1 confounds Arino, but when he starts over he sees that the other half of the duo gives you hints in various doorways strategically placed around the levels. Arino learns to kick the stump just before the jump to make a helpful platform show up in front of him.
Arino makes it to 1-2, but eventually dies. Luckily the game’s own manual lists the continue code, so Arino exploits it to keep going. In 1-3 Arino gets a hint about a green spring, and when he finds it in the next stage, it takes him back to 1-3! But he soon finds out he needs to get a key there, so it’s all good. He searches high and low, but it turns out the key appeared for a second when he kicked a wastebasket.
Back to 1-4, where Arino finally meets the first boss. After about 40 minutes of deaths, there’s a knock on the door. In steps a thin kid with a jacket and a bag. He introduces himself as the new Game Center CX AD, Urakawa. He gets acquainted with Arino and the staff, and then wastes no time in asking Arino to try the game. He ends up dying. Urakawa decides not to push any further and hands the controller back to Arino. Will he ever get past the first world?
On his 17th try, Arino finally defeats the boss after some touch-and-go moments. Moving on to world 2-2, Arino jumps on another strange spring that warps him to 2-4! This leads to the second boss, and he beats him in one try. In 3-3, he slips and falls onto a hidden spring that again thrusts him forward to 3-4. But getting to the boss isn’t a smooth ride, as he dies more than a few times. To make matters worse, he finds another hidden spring, but this one warps him back to 3-3. Some time later, he makes it back to 3-4.
The third boss is more of the same, but Arino’s life is too low to beat it in one try. AD Urakawa steps in and hands Arino a PC Engine strategy guide, with specific help on Kato & Ken. He learns about a warp in 3-3 that will take him to 6-4, the final stage. The warp point is on a platform in the middle of the stage, but it’s impossible to jump up there by oneself. Sasano steps in and shows Arino that he can bounce off the mouse enemies to gain leverage. Unfortunately the mice come bounding in pretty fast, and they don’t respawn, so it’s tricky to get up there.
After nine tries, he makes it up, jumps, and voila — world 6-4! And it’s only taken 7 hours — a record by GCCX standards. 6-4 is positively hellish, though, and Arino dies multiple times. He starts to get the hang of it, however, and performs some crazy stunts, like bouncing off a string of birds and landing on a frog to cap it off.
At one of the final points in the stage, Arino must jump over a series of three plummeting platforms, kick a hidden block and then bound over a wall. Sasano comes in with the guide and shows Arino the map, and then draws it out on the whiteboard to help chart his jump. It requires mastery of the jump kick attack, so Arino practices for a little bit before attempting the jump. He’s scared as hell, but attempts it, only to fall off the first edge.
Soon after, Urakawa comes in with the clock. It’s getting closer to midnight. The producer offers Arino the option of giving up, but he’s not quick to — it’s the first episode of the season, after all, and he doesn’t really want to let anyone down. Arino decides to press on, but he’ll have to come back in three days to try again.
Day 2 begins in the show’s secondary challenge room. Urakawa has got Arino back to 6-4, so it’s an easy restart, but getting past that wall isn’t. After a few more failed attempts, Urakawa comes in and starts marking on the whiteboard. Arino keeps jumping forward on the last platform, but Urakawa suggests he kick the hidden block, stay there and then jump up on it. Arino does just that and makes it. But then he jumps right into the wall and dies again. The room screams. He makes it the next time, but then falls onto the secret spring that warps him back to 6-3. But that’s fine, since 6-3 has the key that he needs.
Arino gets the key, and then shortly after hits another spring that warps him back to 6-2. Urakawa offers his assistance once again and takes the controller. He gets to the goal and lets Arino finish up. Back at 6-3, Arino successfully avoids the warp this time and heads to 6-4. He gets past the wall and onto the last part with the key, and finally to the boss. Despite looking and acting like all the other bosses, Arino still fails with this one. He eventually gets a Game Over. Fast forward back to the boss and Arino still hasn’t defeated him after 15 tries.
Sasano decides to sit down and whittle down the boss. He pauses right after attacking, with 2 hits left on the boss, and then gives the controller back to Arino, who’s laughing at the tight spot Sasano’s left him in. But he does it without injury, landing two more hits to beat the boss and end the game.
Arino visits Game Corner MICKEY, a place in Jibocho that looks run-down on the outside, but has over 100 decent-looking video games on the inside. As soon as he walks in, Arino notices a UFO catcher with nothing but a pile of cold hard cash inside. He gives it a go, but gets only a handful of the machine’s confetti bedding.
From there he moves onto the arcade version of Star Force, the game that challenged him so many episodes ago. Today is no different, as he doesn’t beat Lalios here, either. Next is Sexy Parodius. Once he starts playing, Arino declares the third season to be the "ero" season. He’s not kidding, either, as the next game he tries is Gals Panic S2.
The tone of the show dips back down to normal as Arino tries Spartan X (Kung Fu Master) next, and then finally locates the game from the viewer’s postcard: Mario Bros. Arino and Sasano sit down and start playing, but end up trying to sabotage one another instead. At least they have fun with it.
Though the segment didn’t have an official name at this point, the concept is the same: Arino attempts to complete Ganso Saiyuki: Super Monkey Daibouken. Nothing much happens, but after tens of minutes Arino finally lucks into a battle screen.
After about an hour, Arino is handed his first phone number to call, but the person on the other end can’t really help. Another hour passes, and Arino calls his friend Yoshiyuki Hirai, but all he really knows is that the game is bad. For now, Arino is left to drift along in this very vague game.
Game Collections: 1985: January-April