Game Center CX Season 6 – Back to Contents
The Last Crawl? "Bio Miracle: Bokutte Upa?"
No frills are in the introduction to the last episode, just straight up challenge time. This time Arino tackles Bio Miracle: Bokutte Upa, a Konami Disk System game that was often pirated and sold as "Baby Mario." Yes, it’s a platformer starring a baby, but the Mario similarities end pretty quickly.
Arino starts in World 1-1, the Sweet World; a land surrounded by candy and cake. He plays around for a bit, whacking enemies with his rattle and turning them into floating platforms, then getting the bell that turns Upa into an upright-walking invincible baby! Eventually he enters the boss chamber and faces off against a rather small pig with a huge mouth that spits out enemies.
Arino uses the enemies as weapons by hitting them with the rattle then bumping them toward the boss. After a few more hits, Arino wins and his shuttled off to the next level. 1-2 starts with a giant cake that Arino eats his way through, but dies a couple of times and ends up with a Game Over. He continues, but is surprised that it just starts him at the first level of the world. Some continue. He gets back to 1-2, but there’s no boss at the end, thankfully.
Arino hops along 1-3 and meets another pig boss, and then is hit once for another Game Over. When he gets back, he finds out the hard way that the boss takes more hits than the previous one. But he steadily keeps sending enemies its way and eventually wins with one heart left. World 1 is done with, so it’s on to the Vegetable World.
There’s a trick platform early on in 2-1 which almost kills Arino, but he reacts just in time. But then he ends up dying a couple of more times. Luckily he can continue right from the same level. After cautiously jumping past a periodically-disappearing platform, he makes it to the next boss — yep, another pig. This one he defeats in no time flat.
World 2-2 is an underwater level, with Upa wearing cute widdle baby goggles! The level scrolls up, so Arino does a lot of button mashing to keep the pace going. He makes it to the end, but once again there’s only a treasure chest waiting for him. Whew! 2-3 returns to good ol’ platforming, but Arino’s easily taken by the trap platforms this time. A group of balloons fly up from a gap later on, and Arino very nearly dies before being saved at the last millisecond by a balloon that comes up from the bottom. The entire room skips a heartbeat.
Arino safely makes it to the ledge, but then slips off the next platform and dies. Of course. He’s forced to continue from 2-1, and in the middle of things Inoko MAX comes in with a special treat: a couple slices of cake themed after the level in the game. Arino decides to take a little snack break before moving on. Unfortunately, the sugar doesn’t assist him in getting through 2-1 any faster, as he continues to die here.
He gambles with the balloon platforms in 2-3 again, but keeps on failing. After some more trial and error (error), Arino finally makes it to the boss. It’s not a pig this time, but a giant snake! However, the strategy is largely the same. The snake shoots out little frogs, and Arino’s there to bump all of them back. The boss takes a lot of hits, however, fooling Arino into thinking the last attack is going to be the final one. A couple of years later, the boss is finally knocked off.
World 3 begins, and it’s an icy one. That said, Arino starts dying pretty easily. Yet he makes it to the boss rather quickly and heads into 3-2, which adds more ice to the mix. The boss here is placed on a rather high platform, and with Arino perched in the corner it’s hard to direct shots at the pig. Time starts dragging on, and the timer gets lower. He keeps screwing up in the final seconds, but with just two seconds left the lands the finishing blow!
3-3 is still icy, but it’s another vertical scroller. Thankfully it’s a bit like Kid Icarus, where you can wrap over to the other edge of the screen. The boss in this one is a mustachioed, top hat-wearing seal that slides across the bottom of the screen. Arino cleverly uses the screen wrapping to shoot enemies at the boss quicker, but eventually ends up pinched in the middle. Another Game Over after that, and even more dying in the earlier stages for yet another Game Over. When he eventually gets to the boss for the second time, his cleverness is at maximum, and he sneaks behind the boss often to finally defeat it.
World 4 is the IC World. Not icy; intergrated circuit — for some reason, it’s a computer world. There’s quite a few tight spaces in 4-1, which end up pinching Arino more than once. He gets to the boss only to die s’more. On the second try he succeeds and heads to 4-2. But things are about to ramp up.
4-2 is a reverse-gravity level, so Arino now has to think upside down. Inoko MAX comes in and suggests a strategy that harkens back to Prince of Persia: rotate the TV! And Inoue is the one to do it: not only does he rotate the TV, he stands there holding it up as well. The gesture is incredibly noble, but, er, a bit awkward, too. Arino tries playing the game this way, but with Inoue standing there like he’s avoiding a sexual favor, it’s just way too distracting. Arino gets the giggles and has Inoue stop the madness.
Arino dies and has to restart 4-1, but once he’s back to 4-2 Inoue comes back to hold the screen. While he stands there hunched over, he asks Arino if he can try getting through the level. Arino agrees, as long as he doesn’t have to hold the TV. Inoue successfully gets through the level in its upside-down state, finishing off the boss and all. After that’s over, Inoue leaves and Arino hopes he won’t go through that again. The 4-3 boss is another snake, but Arino ends up dying and gets a totally unwanted Game Over. At least he gets through 4-2 upside-down without incident. He gets back to the boss and finishes it off quickly, and is really relieved now.
World 5 is Stationery World, and 5-1 is filled with conveyor belts that throw Arino off (literally and figuratively). He speeds through to 5-2, but it has even trickier jumps, which lead to another Game Over. He tries again, and at the end of 5-2 lands right on the boss platform. He quickly gets off and fights it normally. Unfortunately there’s still a couple of conveyor belts to make life hard. Couple that with a narrow platform in the corner that the enemy projectiles can get caught in, and Arino wastes a whole lot of time.
The timer starts getting low again, but Arino beats the boss with 40 seconds left. And then it’s on to 5-3, another swimming level. A gauntlet of pencils endlessly poke Arino until he dies again and again for yet another Game Over. Time passes and Arino reaches the boss, a giant seahorse named Tappi. He dies the first time through (narrowly missing a health item, argh!), but he’s more careful the next time. After some close calls, he manages to send enough projectiles into Tappi’s bellly to get rid of him. World 5 is clear, with two more to go.
Milky World is the name of the sixth set of levels, and its main gimmick is creamy floors that act like quicksand. But that’s not so much the problem as it is the numerous narrow platforms. Arino racks up a few more deaths before making it to the first boss, which is — you guessed it — another mouthy pig. And as usual, the layout of the boss room is so wonky that it takes some really strategic positioning to send the projectile enemies in the right direction. At one point Arino discovers that he can instantly bump the enemies just by jumping up from below them, without having to hit them first. This speeds things up incredibly and nets Arino another win.
6-2 is another edible level, but this time it’s cheese, of course. All that’s at the end is the word "NICE" and a treasure chest, much to Arino’s relief. But 6-3, being the last level, isn’t as forgiving. Arino has to bounce off a springy patch of gelatin to reach a very high-up platform. He misses the first try, but lands it on the second, only to slip off the edge and die (he doesn’t like himself for that one).
After another death later on, Inoko MAX comes in and asks to give it a try. Once he gets the controller, he shows Arino the nuance of the gelatin jumping, only to fail right afterward. He then has to play through all of world 6 again. Eventually he makes it to the 6-3 boss and hands the controller back to Arino. The boss pig darts around on a cloud, and there’s only gelatin below, so this one isn’t going to be a cakewalk… or will it? Apparently Inoue’s advice helped, because Arino does a fine job launching off the gelatin and sending the enemies right back in the boss’s face. Arino aces it, and even Inoue is surprsied! And then it’s time to set side B of the game disk. The final world awaits!
The producer then hands Arino the clock. It’s almost 11:30! He kindly asks Arino to beat the game by midnight. Arino’s in another Cinderella situation, but he probably wouldn’t want it any other way, especially for the final battle. World 7 begins.
7-1 is a long, long fall down a shaft dotted with spikes. Arino loses a couple of lives, but easily gets to the first boss after that. Luckily the screen wraps here, so he beats the boss on the first try. The clock ticks past 11:35 as Arino enters 7-2. Unfortunately he loses enough lives here to get a Game Over. He makes it back, only to die after getting a little bit further. 11:45!
He tries again and gets to the boss. It’s an easy fight, but he soon slips and falls into the pit in the middle, right before the boss falls in as well! Game Over. The producer asks Arino to look at the clock. Yep, it’s midnight. This next attempt is going to have to be the last. Arino blankly acknowledges this fact and continues. He gets back to the 7-2 boss, but with only one heart remaining. He takes things very carefully, only hitting the boss once out of every group of three enemies. And somehow, he wins!
7-3 begins, and it’s another fun set of conveyors and teeny platforms. Arino hops along and gets to the halfway mark when Inoko MAX asks him to pause. There’s a few recovery items hidden in the blocks there, including a 1UP! Arino busts open the blocks and gets two 1UPs. He moves forward, but the next section is too daring, and he ends up dying. Furthermore, he’s taken back to the beginning of the level!
But before long he gets beyond the point where he died and meets the boss, another evil snake. This battle requires use of the screen wrap to succeed, and Arino does pretty well, even with one heart remaining. As soon as he lands the final blow, the screen goes black and displays "WAIT" again. After what seems like forever, the game reappears, along with the final boss, the goat Zayi. Arino pauses the game just to check what its name was, then unpauses and enters the battle.
Arino wastes no time hitting the boss with projectiles. Unfortunately he takes too many hits himself and dies the first time out. He dies two more times, getting down to his final life. This is his last chance ever. Arino fights slowly but surely, hitting every enemy that comes in front of him. But he’s a little too antsy, and walks right into one!
Game Over. The room is silent aside from Arino’s groans. But Inoko MAX pipes up: he remembers that if you continue here, you can go straight to the boss again. …Arino responds silently. The producer asks him what he wants to do. The Kacho’s pride is too big right now. After all that’s happened these past few years, after the show is more popular than ever, Arino just can’t back down. He goes for it — he asks for one more chance. He continues, with three more lives to fight with.
Zayi takes 7 hits. A countdown appears in the lower corner. Arino gets the first hit easily by sending an enemy up into Zayi, then dashing over to hide under one of the platforms. The second one takes a while longer, but Arino lands it diagonally. The third hit is another vertical one. The fourth comes in from the lower right corner. Arino uses the screen wrap to land the fifth, and the sixth comes in right after that one. And then the seventh lands just as quickly. Boom.
The sixth season ends with a 4-3 record. Not too damn bad. But the game’s ending is rather anti-climactic. Arino and the staff give themselves a hand, and Arino stands up with a well-deserved stretch. Until we meet again…
Game Collections: 1988: April-July