Game Center CX Season 9 – Back to Contents
The Kacho’s Revival! A Wild Rampage!! "Abarenbou Tengu"
After three unconventional episodes, Arino is finally suited up again and ready to tackle the next game for real. This time, it’s Meldac’s Abarenbou Tengu (released in the US as Zombie Nation), a somewhat obscure, somewhat hardcore shoot-em-up featuring a giant, flying tengu head. Who, despite the destruction he leaves in his wake, is actually fighting for good! Who knew!
But before Arino even puts the game in, the staff has a present for him: a "nurse call" alarm; a capsule-shaped klaxon. Arino pushes the button, and what does it do? It summons AD Nakayama. Naturally. With that in mind, Arino lets the nurse call stay, and goes on to start the game.
There are four stages in total, and the player can freely start with any of them. Arino plays it safe and goes with Round 1. He can then also select between Easy and Hard difficulty. Yeah, let’s go with Easy. Round 1 is New York, and Arino deftly blasts his way through the buildings and military forces.
When the stage appears to end, it actually fades out into a second half, where Arino makes a wrong turn and loses his first life. From there, we learn that Arino has only six continues. He starts over, but dies more often than last time! Eventually, he reaches the end of the second section, and the screen fades again. And then immediately starts the boss encounter, against a possessed Statue of Liberty.
Arino hurriedly starts shooting at it, but the statue’s unpredictable bullets hit him and he quickly falls. The life bar disappears in boss fights, so extra caution is needed. Arino gets his last Game Over, and is forced to start all over. He gets back to the boss, and does a better job of dodging. However, he still gets hit by a stray bullet and dies.
The next attempt seems to go on forever, but Arino doesn’t die — he wins! The boss is destroyed, and Arino moves on to Round 2, the Grand Canyon. And immediately dies, since he only had one point of health left. And that was his last continue! It’s early yet, but Arino already takes off the jacket and puts on a cold pad.
He makes it back to Round 2, but continues to struggle, especially in one part with a huge waterfall that’s dotted with huge snakes and randomly-falling boulders. Plus there’s a guy on a raft shooting at him, and… yeah. It’s not long before all the continues are wasted again.After getting back again (and dying again), Arino hits the nurse call, and Nakayama rushes over.
Nakayama plays the stage for Arino, and does pretty well at the start… until he’s mysteriously killed by an off-screen projectile. And that was the last continue again.
Nakayama won’t give up, though. He leaves momentarily to go get something: the Hudson Joystick! His suggestion is to have Arino do the shooting with that and Nakayama can do the moving. The two men get past the waterfall, at least.
After fighting some tengu doppelgangers, the boss appears: a nearly-naked Paul Bunyan. Arino dies, and Nakayama has to leave anyway so Arino can fight. Unfortunately, Bunyan bounces around the screen rapidly, and repeatedly kills Arino in the space of a second. Bye-bye, continues.
Nakayama and Arino team up again to get back to the boss. This time, they stay together when fighting Bunyan, and they’re victorious, thanks to Nakayama’s smooth moves! On to Round 3, an industrial zone.
The big challenge here are tall, indestructible smokestacks, the emissions of which kill Arino instantly. He has to wait until they disappear, but that’s hard enough with all the other crap going on. Nakayama then comes back and gives Arino the Joycard, the turbo controller that’s sure to help in some way.
Indeed it does — he gets through to the second half of the stage. Inside the industrial plant, there’s a maze of metal bars that Arino can’t destroy, so he has to find the right way through. He’s squished more than a few times.
Arino does eventually get the hang of it and glides through without incident, until he’s killed not by the maze, but by spikes moving back and forth. Now the deaths really rack up as he either misjudges or is otherwise surprised by the spikes. On the last continue, Arino’s near the end of the level, but is almost dead! He pauses the game and calls for Nakayama.
Nakayama finally lets slip a great bit of help: the "Konami code" works in this game, and it fully restores health! Woohoo!
After a couple of small maze-y sections, Arino makes it to the boss. Or is that bosses? He has to face off against a giant roving military carrier that’s lined with tanks and turrets. Of course, he dies, and it’s back to the start of Round 3. The challenge passes the 8-hour mark.
Arino makes it back to the boss, but the deaths continue to rack up. This fight brings back bad memories of the Super Mario 3 challenge, where a similar "tank" stage was practically his undoing back then.
On the last continue, Arino amazingly makes it across the carrier, and ducks down right next to the engine core. He continues to pump fire into it, following the back-and-forth scrolling, and before he knows it, the carrier is destroyed and the stage is completed! Round 4 begins, but Arino pauses so that he can do his victory pose.
But then he dies soon after, once again losing the last continue. He restarts the stage, and continues to die as usual. He uses the Konami code again, and that helps him get to the end to face the boss. Or is that "bosses" again… this time it’s four small snakes that track Arino and try to ensnare him. Arino tries his best, just circling around the screen trying to evade the snakes, but their slow movements combined with sprays of bullets don’t help him get anywhere.
Several deaths later, he makes to kill one of the snakes. The second one quickly follows, but while trying to kill the last two, he bumps up against the first and kills himself. After 25 minutes of re-attempting the stage (Arino decides to reset the game if he makes it to the end without full power), all the snakes are deftly destroyed.
But then, of course, with all the restarts, the next stage is actually… Round 1! The other three still need completing. Arino now has to complete the entire game without losing those six continues.
He goes with it, blasting through Round 1 with the help of the Joycard, but Round 2 still proves to be a challenge even after so long. That damn waterfall causes Arino to lose one continue, and the boss takes the rest. Nakayama is called once more. Nakayama’s recommended route is to start with Round 2, which will end Arino at Round 1 if he makes it through. Nakayama then takes the controller and gets Arino through the stage.
Nakayama continues through Round 3. He makes a dumb mistake on the boss, but still gets through after that. Arino must now finish it off on his own. Round 1 is the last stage on the map, but Nakayama informs him there’s a final "Round 5" as well.
Arino begins, and we skip ahead to the boss, where he seems to easily finish off the boss, but tragedy strikes, and he’s hit by a bullet. And then it all starts falling apart: he keeps getting too close. On the third-to-last continue, he finally beats the boss again.
And Round 5? It’s not a real stage, but rather the final boss fight against the alien mastermind, Eva. He’s killed quickly, but has two continues left. The blue spinning orbs around Eva are almost too much to bear. The challenge has already reached 13 hours, so this is Arino’s last chance.
And then, in a stroke of luck, just by staying in one place, Arino defeats the final boss. America is safe thanks to Abarenbou Tengu! The kacho has truly returned.
Arino checks out another small food shop in Tokyo, the Inagaki Pastry Shop. It has a bunch of different snacks, though, all stocked up along the walls, and it even has a few arcade games stuffed inside.
As Arino approaches, he notices the capsule machines, one of which offers a"voice strap" based on a comedian. Unfortunately, he gets a Jack Skellington toy instead. He then walks inside at sits down at the first machine: Cherry Bonus 4, a slot machine game.
After that, Arino grabs some food, including some instant yakisoba. He gives it to the owner so she can heat it up, and then Arino walks over to another game. It’s the doujin fighter Melty Blood!
Right as Arino begins, his noodles are ready. He’s a little busy, so the lady actually feeds it to him. He loses the match in the game, anyway, so he finishes off the bowl himself. He wins the next round, though! The energy helped!
Back outside, Arino tries a flipper game, Home Run Batter. After a couple of tries, he wins a 20-yen voucher, and then browses the shop for some more treats.
Famicom Manga Café
This time, Arino is given "Famicom Cap," another story of a kid with superhuman Famicom skills (and of course, a cap with two cartridges wrapped around it). Joined by his friends Bug, Hi-Tech and Kyara, Cap wins tournaments and is challenged by masters of the dark arts or something.
After reading a Mach Rider-focused story, Arino skips to the last volume and spoils the ending, where Cap seems to have grown up a little, too.
Game Collections: 1989: January