Game Center CX Season 7 – Back to Contents
がんばれ！「がんばれ ゴエモン ゆき姫救出絵巻」の巻
Ganbare! The Rolling of "Ganbare Goemon: Yuki-hime Kyuushutsu Emaki"
This time, with a pair of new shoes over his feet, Arino challenges another Super NES classic: The Legend of the Mystical Ninja, the first 16-bit "Ganbare Goemon" game; the wacky story of Kid Yi–er, Goemon and his partner Ebisumaru as they try and rescue the kidnapped Princess Yuki.
Arino lifts up the game cartridge to insert it when he’s interrupted by the producer. He has some bad news: AD Takahashi is out sick today! Uh-ohhhhh — Arino’s going to have to go at this one alone. He doesn’t seem scared, though; he just goes ahead and starts the game.
He explores the opening town and buys some rice balls that will save him from death. Arino then strays a little too far and watches as the town comes under siege by ghosts! He runs around, getting stupidly hit by enemies the whole way, and then he hits the R button. His weapon changes to coins! Their long-range ability helps him hit the enemies rolling in from the sides.
Eventually Arino heads into the second, side-scrolling section of the stage. He starts off well, until he dies after jumping onto a fireball. He reaches the same spot and steps forward to the large bell at the top, where a ring of fireballs close in! He gets past them thanks to the coins, but then later he dies after landing on sharp bamboo. And he was so close to the end!
After a Game Over, Arino’s forced to start over from the start of the game. This time he builds up some cash and buys another rice ball, some bombs and some soup to extend his health gauge. Back in the side-scrolling section, he grabs the maneki neko that upgrades his pipe fully into a yo-yo! But then he’s hit by a fireball again and is reduced to using coins. Finally, he makes it to the boss screen. Generally speaking, the Mystic Ghost boss is pretty easy to defeat: just hit her plates back at her. Unfortunately, Arino seems to think they’re unhittable, so he actively tries to dodge them for a while. Naturally, it doesn’t work, and he dies. On the second try, after remembering the hint from the forturne teller back in town, he figures out how to beat the boss. But he dies once more.
And then again. And again. He knows to hit the plates, but then he stays still after that and gets hit by the second plate! Eventually he manages to hit the boss enough times — only to be killed at the same time! What is this, Rockman all over again?! On the next attempt and a bit of tension, Arino comes through a winner. Finally, onto stage 2!
Arino dies early in stage 2 and restarts without a whole lot of cash. He tries scoping out the shops and games around, but without any money, he can’t partake. After some time, he ends up at the entrance to the boss section, dives in.
Time to face the Lantern Man! Arino starts by shooting a coin at one of Lantern Man’s lanterns, but instantly dies. He restarts and dies once more. He makes it back and continues to pelt the boss with coins. It’s clearly not effective enough, but Arino continues to do it — anything in the name of safety, I guess.
He gets rid of all of the white lanterns around the same time he runs out of coins! He’s forced to use the regular pipe to finish off the others, but he doesn’t stay alive long enough. After another run through the town to get some money, he tries yet another time. He gets rid of all the lanterns, but is slightly confused as to what to do next when Lantern Man continues to jump around. But then he gets it: go after the boss’s head! It requires Arino to get right up next to Lantern Man, which is frightening in and of itself. But after taking it very slowly, he wins!
Once at stage 3, Arino tries the carnival quiz game. He ends up winning, and after seeing the prize money, decides to go for it again. After that, he heads next door into the gambling house! Uh-ohhhhh. Arino tries the dice game and decides to go big — betting 530 of his 532 yen! He chooses the "Dai" (big) sum and watches as the dice roll and fall. It’s a Dai! He wins 1060 yen (or ryo, if you want to gettechnical)!
He then goes with "Shou" (small) and wins, but only a little. He plays with the bet counter, going all the way up to 1,000 — "aaaaAAAAAAHH! DAI!" It’s a win! "YOSH! YES!" The gamblin’ man within Arino is now out of the closet. But there’s still a game to play, you know…
Arino moves on to stage 4 and the subsequent side-scrolling pre-boss stage. Here, it’s a big temple, with lots of precarious platforming. He does OK up until the second-to-last room, which features a bunch of spinning columns with platforms hanging off the sides. Arino tries to get the timing down, but he just keeps falling off, right down to the bottom. Then, when he starts to get the hang of it, the timer runs out and he dies.
He gets through after that, passes the "slot machine" room and then faces the boss, the pudgy Otafu sumo. Arino stands there and tries to hit Otafu, but it’s not working out. He walks forward and — aha! — a second Otafu plops in from the other side! The two then start tossing their energy ball back and forth. Arino has no idea what to do at first, so he ends up getting killed.
He fails again trying to get up the columns, then ends up dying on the spikes in the slot room. Arrgh! He eventually gets back to the bosses. This time Arino figures out that he should hit them directly on the head. He gets a few hits in, but the bouncing energy ball is still too much for him, and he ends up losing another life. At one point he downs the blue Otafu, but the energy ball closes in and kills him again!
On the next attempt he does it again, minus the early death. Of course, he keeps getting hit by the energy ball, but the rice balls he stocked up keep him from dying. He finally downs the second Otafu, but then… the large head in the background comes out for a second round! Arino pelts it with coins, but it ends up grazing him and he dies again. After another death, he goes back into the town to stock up on shoes and onigiri. He also starts the fight with the yo-yo, so maybe, maybe things will go better. He gets back to the big head and continues hitting it with coins. He almost gets trapped in the corner and dies, but pulls through! The boss is finally gone!
Stage 5 begins, and it’s not long before Arino finds another gambling house. Once again, he goes big and wins big. Much applause in the house as Arino screams "DAI DAI DAI DAI DAI" and continues winning. After amassing over 3800 in cash, he continues through the stage.
Once in the second section, Arino’s thwarted by the spike traps on the ceiling. After dying once, he reads the manual and discovers Goemon’s special "cape" move that allows him to simply glide through the spikes. After a couple of deaths in the next room, he makes it outside to the boss battle. He shoots down a couple of little ninjas before facing the real boss, Sasuke.
Sasuke makes quick work of Arino, though. But on the next try, after relentlessly hitting Sasuke with coin after coin, and after almost dying (one bar of health left), Arino wins it. He jets to stage 6, but ends up dying in the opening town.
After restarting, Arino finds a lottery house — yet more chances to gamble his life away! After a couple of losses, his third try brings some absolute hesitation. He shuts his eyes, then pushes the button… and wins the big bucks! Living in his own personal bubble, he goes to town and buys up all the equipment and food he can. He even partakes in a burlesque show!
After climbing up the waterfall of Tengu Mountain, Arino reaches the boss, Kabuki. Arino starts whacking at Kabuki’s backpack/box, but is usually crushed and killed due to the boss floating over to him every time. The deaths near the double-digits before Arino gets rid of the backpack, but Kabuki’s not done and starts hopping around and throwing his hair at Arino. Another death. Can he crack the pattern?
Not quite, but he does have another trick up his sleeve. He peels off a cold pad and gets ready. As soon as he defeats Kabuki’s first form, he pauses the game, then reaches over for controller number two… Unpause. Arino presses the A button on controller 2 to bring in Ebisumaru. He lets him float there in the middle of the screen as he goes back to the P1 controller and continues attacking as Goemon. Goemon dies just as Ebisumaru’s "summon time" runs out, forcing him to be playable! Set against the yelps of the staff, Arino immediately reaches to the other controller and attacks with Ebisu, but ends up dying. But the test run was crazy enough to work, so Arino tries it again, this time setting the 2P controller closer to his pinky finger.
The next attempt. Arino summons Ebisumaru just before Goemon falls, while Goemon comes back, also floating in the middle. Arino hammers the attack button until Ebisu falls and Goemon comes back. With Goemon, Arino finishes it off!! Incredibly daring, but generally incredible. An instant replay follows, showing Arino grasping at the other controller while the staff continues to yell. Whew doggies.
The next stage begins, but unsurprisingly, Arino is now in control of two characters. He plays double-fisted for a little bit until the producer comes on the mic. Takahashi may be out, but Arino still has the option of bringing in someone else to help. Arino agrees, and the help is summoned.
Oh my god, it’s Inoko MAX! With different hair! (What’s with all the old ADs changing hair so much?) Arino asks Inoue what he’s been up to — he’s still working around Fuji TV. "Ah, [at] La Porte?" Arino dryly asks; that’s the Fuji cafeteria. Inoue asks to take over Ebisumaru for Arino. He agrees, of course, and the former AD takes a seat.
In the game, Arino gets on a boat and almost leaves Inoko MAX behind! Sheesh; Inoue leaps over and joins him, though. Eventually, Inoue dies, followed by Arino soon after. After retrying, Inoue pauses the game and informs Arino of the "piggyback" feature. He offers to ride Arino around as the kacho merely attacks the enemies. The two give it a try, but Arino’s killed by an enemy projectile after about 5 seconds.
Later on, the two enter another gambling house. Inoue bets a little below Arino, but they both end up winning big. Twice, in fact! After that, they do the piggyback thing again, and this time they both do a much better job. Inoue gets hit at the end of the line, though, forcing Arino to jump around in the water while trying to stay alive. But they both make it to dry land and continue on to the boss.
Oh no, it’s a dragon! Inoko MAX dies too early, leaving Arino to fend for himself. He just continuously shoots out coins while expertly dodging the dragon’s fireballs. You can almost see the grin forming on his face as he camps in the corner and takes nary a hit. Before long, the dragon’s done for! Double high-five!
Stage 8 begins, and Inoko MAX takes a break for now. All the people in stage 8 speak an indecipherable language, so Arino’s forced to buy a phrasebook from the shop in order to hear the requests of the king. Arino has Inoue read the king’s dialgoue, but after a few seconds Arino quickly scrolls past the text, and Inoue tries to keep up. It’s not long after that before Arino enters the action area.
He dies a couple of times, but soon makes it to the boss, a giant, multicolored Daruma that shifts its sectioned body across the screen — sort of like the Yellow Devil back in the Rockman episode, but not nearly as confusing. Arino knows he has to hit the head, but it’s not until a minute or two that he realizes he can hit the head with a coin as it travels freely across the top. He depletes the Daruma’s health, but the head respawns on the next lowest section! He’ll have to go through the same pattern about six more times. Unfortunately, he’s grazed by one of the sections and is killed. Groans fill the room.
He gets down to the second-to-last head on the next try, but with a tighter space, it’s less obvious what to do! The staff starts yelling as Arino brazenly tries to escape the pinch of the heads. A rice ball only delays the inevitable death. Next try: Arino hits the head from the side, bouncing it until it’s gone. And when the last section is ready to be hit, the Daruma destroys the bridge below, sending Arino down to the next area: an auto-scrolling platform section!
Arino rides the platform a little bit, then takes a flying leap to the right, only to die in a pit. What the…? He fights the Daruma again, then restarts the area. Dead again — this time he jumped too far ahead of the second platform! He makes it to the end on the third try, or rather, the end of that section — once again he leaps too far and dies.
The clock passess 14 hours. The producer kindly asks Arino to use his last five Goemons ("go Goemon") to end this challenge. Arino and Inoue snicker at "go Goemon", and then the game resumes. The section after the moving platform features rotating platforms that only activate once you step on them — and they’re small, too. Arino takes a couple minutes to try and time his jump. Fat chance; he dies again!
The second Goemon is spent by missing the third jump. On the next life, he makes the jum to the third "wheel," causing much applause! By now, he’s got it. Arino makes it up but — ghk! — gets hit and falls down two rungs! A centimeter from death! But soon after, he makes it to the exit.
One last stretch before the boss, and Arino ends up dying again. Two lives remain. He gets to the end and subesequently the boss screen, where Princess Yuki is being held in the middle of the screen as bait! Arino immediately pauses, takes some time, then leaps over to the center platform. Hooks come down, and a bigger, fatter, spikier Daruma comes in. The platform starts going around the boss, and Arino is hit by one of the spiky hands, killing him! One last life remains as the clock passes another hour.
Arino stays alive longer, and tries to knock the Daruma back and forth with coins, but the spike hand pushes him off the platform, presenting an inescapable death. It’s over. Arino lifts his hands in an X and gives up … for the first time this season. The streak ends.
After Arino leaves, Inoko MAX comes in to wrap up the game. Amazingly, he destroys the boss in two hits! After that is one last stage with a boss gauntlet, followed by the final boss, the General Shogun. Inoue pulls through, then takes a well-deserved nap, covered by Arino’s jacket.
A short one this time: Arino, along with the staffs of Game Center CX, Bandai Namco and Indies Zero all get together for a casual meet & greet dinner. Mr. Suzui from Indies Zero introduces Arino to some of the programmers and artists on the game, including the woman who designed the Ariinoh character, sitting right across from Arino!
Arino has an introduction of his own: he sends in AD Takahashi and has her draw everybody a picture: a recreation of her awesomely goofy Wagyan doodle. After that, Mr. Sasaki from BanNam then shows off the game’s official logo. Wonder what those dot patterns are supposed be?
The segment ends with a preview of the character art for one of the game’s minigames: Haguruman, about a mechanical ninja ("haguruma" meaning "gear") and his quest to save a princess.
Game Collections: 1988: August – October