Game Center CX Season 5 – Back to Contents
Once Again, A Desperate Struggle … "Dai Makaimura"
After a brief introduction to Dai Makaimura (Ghouls ‘N Ghosts) in the last episode, Arino hopefully has had enough time to psyche himself up for the big day — today — when he finally has to challenge it. A new, wide open conference room sets the stage for this battle. ADs Urakawa and Inoko MAX come in and present Arino with their reports. Urakawa played up to stage 4, and Inoue stage… 2. Urakawa gives Arino a handmade strategy guide with level-by-level tips. After that, Arino gets ready. He opens the box, closes it, shakes it, then opens it back up. Damn, it’s still Ghouls ‘N Ghosts.
Stage 1 begins. Arino plows through, but before long a magician pops up and turns him into a duck! Once he turns back to normal, he grabs some other weapons and learns what they do, then he makes his way to the end. "Yayyy, goalll–UAAAAAH!" Arino almost walks right into the boss. He instantly doubles back. He tries jumping up the cliffs he fell down to get there, but the boss stomps towards him and he eventually gets hit and dies. The second attempt has him being a little more aggressive, but it ends the same way. Same with the fourth and fifth tries… up until the eighth, when Arino arrives with full armor on. He hammers on the button until the boss finally explodes.
The beginning of stage 2 is hard enough with all the big skull shells hopping around. Arino dies a few times here until a Game Over, but uses a continue to keep going. And then it’s on to the sandy slopes and easily-breakable catwalks. Again, this takes a few more tries, but he eventually gets by them. The stage continues: he runs forward until he gets hit with a rock from offscreen. He continues until he sees something on top of a rock pile. Is it? Yes, a Red Arremer!! Arino’s biggest rival! It immediately flies offscreen. Arino starts rapidly throwing spears at the edge, but then, just like the last battle two years ago, Red Arremer swoops in and takes him out.
Arino pauses for a minute to put on a cold pad and try some snacks. He opens up a tall bag of candies given to him by a fan at the last DVD event. He opens one up and puts one of the included stickers on the back of the TV for good luck. From there it’s back to the game. Arino gets hit by the Red Arremer again, but after that he just starts to book it for the end of the stage. Unfortunately ol’ Red catches up to him and knocks him off into a hole. On the bright side, that was just past the midway point, so Arino restarts right where he died. He heads through the second fiery half of the stage and makes it to the Kerberos boss, and of course immediately dies. Upon restarting, he accidentally trades out his trusty flying disc weapon for the short-range sword. He heads back to the boss with some trepidation, but after some careful position, he manages to beat it. He’s done even better than Inoko MAX! (Ouch.)
Stage 3 is a real pisser: a vertically-scrolling climb with all sorts of enemies poking and prodding from the wall. As usual, Arino dies a few times at the start. At one point he grabs the dagger weapon, which makes him very happy. The projectile nature of them helps a ton. He then upgrades to the flying disc, but then, again, he slips up and grabs an unwanted item: the torch. He agonizes with the torch for a little bit, but then recovers the daggers. After that, he finally gets through the next section of the stage. He rides a mysterious tongue, which acts as a conveyor belt and sends him straight into the teeth of the demon statues. Fortunately he restarts at the same point, which is another big help. But this time he just keeps getting outright eaten by the statues after staying on their tongues a little too long.
Arino ends up spending an hour at this same section. But he soon lucks out and gets a clear jump to the end of the stage. He prepares for the boss, the cloudy Gust, and engages. He does a pretty good job following its pattern, but at some point he slips up and dies. He jumps through the tongue hell again before getting back to the boss. The attempts keep racking up, all the way past ten. On the 13th try he finally nails the boss’ pattern and clears the stage. Finally he moves on to stage 4. Sloped waterways provide a wonderful new way to die. After much trial and error, he perfects his jumping and gets past the water.
But from there it’s onto the back of a giant caterpillar that spawns baby caterpillars, and another snakey beast that hops in and out of its body. Arino concentrates on the slithery airborne one, but is tripped up by a baby bug and dies. On the next try, he stays put on the rear end of the boss and flings projectiles from there, moving out of the way of the enemies every so often. It doesn’t work. At this point Inoko MAX comes in with a new food item: a cookie shaped like a mask, which comes with an actual mask that has a nonchalant expression on it. Predictably, Arino puts it on and goes in for the 12th attempt at the boss.
He dies again, then immediately tears the mask off his face. Too irritating! Fast forwad to attempt 15. Arino gets the golden armor and quickly learns about the doppelganger he can use with it. He gets back to the boss and uses a similar strategy as before, but still ends up almost-dead. He takes out the first few of the caterpillar’s pulsing organs. He’s down to one when things start getting hairy and he runs back and forth dodging enemies. Eventually he makes his way back to the front and takes out the last organ. Much applause and audible relief.
Stage 5 begins and the light at the end of the tunnel is finally starting to come through. Arino runs through the first part of the stage until he comes across another Red Arremer King! He steps forward and spots… another Red Arremer on the platform above! Oh, dear. He can barely deal with the first one, and starts dying faster than he can run. He takes this opportunity to check Urakawa’s strategy document. He reads the blurb on Red Arremer’s pattern of movement and begins the game again. At one point he manages to kill the first one, but screws up when dodging the second and dies again. On the next attempt he manages to beat both of them, so he climbs the ladders ahead and continues.
But upstairs is another Arremer! And again he creeps forward and… there’s a fourth! It’s just too much. Arino dies once again, forcing him to start over with the first pair of Arremers. The deaths rack up, but in a crazy fit of luck, he grabs the golden armor and manages to lead the last two Arremers down while using the armor doppelganger to assist him in attacking. It works, but he loses the armor in the process. He continues through the stage with one hit remaining. In another fit of luck he recovers the normal armor. As he continues on, the music gets more suspenseful. Arino figures he’s close to the last boss, so he takes a moment to prepare. And then he dies in place. Wha? It wasn’t an enemy, it was the timer running out! The Time Over causes him to restart at the very beginning of the stage.
He gets back to where he died and continues up the stage, past the gauntlet of protruding maces. He gets to the top of the ladder and jumps ov–oh god a miniboss! He jumps back. It seems to be the final boss of Ghosts ‘N Goblins, Lucifer! Arino dies from his fire attack initially, but on the next try gets past it. But then he climbs another ladder to find two Shielder heads (the stage 1 boss)! Another couple of deaths, but he manages to succeed in this part as well.
And then there’s two more Lucifers. And then three Gusts. And another Shielder. You would think Arino would be giving up by now, but his courage is immeasurable. Eventually he gets past all of them, only to finally face the real boss of the stage — Beelzebub, a giant flying bee. Pause!
The thing is huge! Arino gets up off his chair and goes over to the big-screen TV the staff is watching. He points out Beelzebub’s projectiles, which are an inch away from him and will probably kill him once he unpauses. Sheesh. He sits back down, unpauses and yep, dies. Urakawa then comes by with a fan letter. It’s an inspiring little letter written by a 12 year-old fan, referencing Arino’s Super Mario World battle and his pledge not to give up or else let all the kids down. He attaches the letter to a jar of snacks and continues the game.
He gets back to the boss and pauses. His heart’s going a mile a minute! Finally, he begins. He attacks and dodges Beelzebub succesfully for a while, until it lets out a stream of tiny bees. Arino immediately pauses again and looks over at the tip sheet. He reads the blurb, and unpauses. Instant death. The 13-hour mark passes. The producer gets on the mic and asks Arino if this is where he’ll give up. Arino leans over to look at the fan letter. Because of that, he says, he won’t give up. The producer’s reply: "…well then, good luck!"
Arino heads back to the battle. The deaths continue to pile up. Finally, on the 12th attempt, Arino comes in with the golden armor and manages to get a few extra hits in thanks to the doppelganger. Beelzebub pinches him into a corner, forcing him to lose the armor, but he continues to hammer the attack button until finally… It’s over! Arino grabs the last key and watches the simple ending screen. There is some relief, but after that, the screen fades back to the beginning of stage one. Yes, much like Ghosts ‘N Goblins before it, Ghouls ‘N Ghosts needs to be completed twice in a row in order to get the real ending.
The producer asks Arino if he’ll give up now. Arino puts on the goofy mask and says yes. But then, Kibe-kun comes in. He basically gets Arino to rethink his decision. This is for the kids, after all! Right!? After a moment, Arino rescinds his surrender. It’s time to do this for real. Urakawa and Inoko MAX come and sit by Arino to assist. The three of them trade off. Urakawa blasts through stage 1, Arino finishes up stage 2, and so on. Urakawa finishes up stage 5 and hands the controller back to Arino. He’s about to face the final boss. He enters the chamber to face the real Lucifer, but is quickly stomped by his giant red foot.
Arino continues to try and get some hits in, but also continues to die. Lucifer’s pattern of stomping and shooting lasers seems to be too much for him to process. By now, 19 hours have passed. On the 15th attempt, he finally learns to hit Lucifer in the head, but he still ends up dying. On the next attempt, Arino accidentally (?) hops on Lucifer’s foot and then up on his knee. From there he has a closer shot at his head.
He begins to mash the button and… it works. It all works! Lucifer is destroyed and the princess is saved. And above all, Arino did his fans right.
Hard no Ace ga Detekonai
What is this week’s featured piece of failed technology? Arino wastes no time in reaching over for the box and–oh Jesus, it’s a 3DO.
Specifically, the original 3DO "REAL" FZ-1. Suda-chan hooks ‘er up to the TV, and Arino presents the three games he has with him. Kibe-kun is sent in to help choose what to start with. Why not Jurassic Park Interactive? Kibe directs Arino to the ridiculous "Spit Doom" minigame, an incredibly cheap Space Invaders ripoff. Arino wonders what the hell Kibe was thinking in choosing this one. All Kibe can do is laugh and apologize.
Arino moves on to Shockwave, a decent little shooter from EA. Kibe has Arino start in the Training mode, which probably wasn’t all that smart since it makes the game look 10 times more boring than intended.
Finally, Arino plays Chiki-Chiki Machine Mou Race (Wacky Races). Unfortunately this is the least "game" game of all of them, as all it consists of is "betting" on who you think will win the race in the randomly-determined FMV animation. When Kibe tells Arino this, he’s understandably confused and disappointed. After that, the 3DO is sent back where it came from, never to be seen again, which is likely for the better.
Game Collections: 1987: October