Game Center CX Season 9 – Back to Contents
Completely Lost!? "Dragon Slayer IV"
After three victories, Arino faces what could be his biggest challenge this season. The game before him is Namco/Falcom’s Dragon Slayer IV, known in America as Legacy of the Wizard. This action-RPG featurs a humongous mazelike dungeon, and a family of five, the Worzens, who must defeat the dormant dragon living beneath.
Arino begins, and is presented with the character select screen. With no real idea of who to go with first, he starts by playing as the father, Xemn. He enters the shop next door and purchases an odd bottle (an Elixir), and then heads down into the dungeon. There, Arino quickly learns that Xemn’s "ammo" for his attacks take one point of Magic, so for the time being, he must conserve.
Some more exploring leads him to collect some health-restoring food, and a few moments fighting with Xemn’s weak jumping height. Even after some crafty tricks (like jumping off a spawning enemy’s head to go higher), Arino reaches a dead-end, and decides to go the other way. Soon, he drops into the central room, where the dragon lies in stasis. But with no way to attack it, and no other clear way through the dungeon, he decides to retreat back to the house and try another family member. This time he chooses the daughter, Lyll.
Compared to Xemn, Lyll is Michael Jordan, with the highest jump of the whole family. Arino goes back to where he was at first, but still can’t get anywhere, even with Lyll’s advantages. He tries the other family members — the mom, the son, the pet monster — but no real progress is being made.
After two hours of nothing, AD Nakayama comes in, saying little other than he didn’t even completely beat the game himself before taping. He ducks out, but then returns with the fruits of his labor: a giant sheet of paper with a grid of the dungeon map, noting certain areas that are best for certain characters, and special items that they’ll need.
With a good amount of information (finally), Arino chooses Pochi, the pet monster. As Pochi, he must make his way to room C-8 on the map, where the first boss can be found. Luckily, since Pochi is a monster, the enemies just treat him as any other, and Arino can stroll right on through.
But he doesn’t keep very good track of where he’s going, and ends up slowly poking through rooms and getting lost again. He asks Nakayama where he is on the map right now… B-8? Just one room away! Except there’s no way to get across to it.
Arino goes on to try and find another way to get there. He gets up into a narrow mazelike room with a bunch of locked doors. He walks through one, spending his only key. He’ll have to get more if he wants to get through that room! He retreats and goes to a room with a lot of enemies, who usually drop keys. He gets about four keys, and goes back to the maze room, where he makes it through.
But above that room is another weird one, which is mostly made up of breakable blocks. Arino gets over to the other side, and it looks like another dead end, but then he opens up the last treasure chest there, and inside is a crown! And then the screen starts shifting, looping, transforming into the first boss room.
As usual, Arino backs away once he sees the boss (a giant spider), but it turns out not to be hurting him too much. Pochi’s magic beam is weak, but Arino keeps hammering on the attack button and hitting the boss until, within a few seconds, it’s dead! The screen shifts again, warping Arino back to the surface. The Pochi quest is completed!
With that squared away, Arino goes back to playing as Xemn. In the Inventory screen that follows, he equips the Power Knuckle, an Elixir (which can save him from death once) and the Glove, which enables Xemn’s special ability to push certain blocks in the dungeon. B-9 is where Xemn needs to be this time. Arino heads south.
On his quest, Arino picks up the Rod item (used by the mother, Meia), but some overzealous exploring causes him to fall down a long vertical shaft, then go under and back up a long ladder. A smaller ladder is at the top of the shaft, but to escape, Arino needs to aim his jump so that he lands on it, and then over to the bigger ladder to exit. He tries and tries, but his timing is off and he keeps falling.
AD Nakayama comes by and suggests that Arino just kill himself and continue, but that would undo collecting the Rod. Nakayama leaves and Arino gives it one last try. It works! He yells for Nakayama. "I did it," he says sardonically. Nakayama sort of apologizes.
Arino presses on, entering a room with lots of strategically-placed movable blocks. The pushing mechanic is kinda whack: Arino has to be holding Up, then jump in order to move a block. When he needs to get up to the top level through a narrow passage, it takes more than a few tries. Rather than give up, he uses a flying enemy as leverage, pushing him up just enough so that he can align the blocks just how he wants and then escape.
He reaches the other end of the puzzling room, but decides to enter the shop at the bottom first, which requires more block pushing. He reaches the shop, but there’s a false bottom that sends him down into another room. And since he can’t go back anyway due to the positions of the blocks, he continues down.
Eventually, he drops into another puzzle room, takes some time, gets through it, and keeps going wherever there’s an exit. He checks his "GPS," Nakayama again. He’s in A-12, just a few steps away from the next crown! Unfortunately, the next room is fraught with danger, from long stretches of spikes to annoying enemies. Arino doesn’t seem to be watching his Life gauge, and eventually dies.
He’s forced to restart, losing the two hours of progress he made as Xemn. Begrudgingly, he reselects Xemn. Another hour and a half is required before he gets to B-9. It’s another puzzle room, but not quite as hard this time, and at the top level is the crown! Warp time again! Annnnd another seconds-long boss fight.
Back to using Lyll. For her, Arino brings along the Mattock, the Power Knuckle and the Powered Boots, which lets Lyll walk over enemies without harm. And her goal room? B-3. Arino checks the map, and sees that there’s a shop nearby with the Jump Shoes, which can make Lyll jump even higher. Arino gets near the shop, but kills some enemies to get some money for it first. Well, "some" is a misnomer — he spends 30 minutes completely maxing out the Gold meter. It’s worth it, since the Jump Shoes are 80GP, which takes a chunk out of his cash. There’s one hitch: Arino has to run back home to be able to equip them.
The Shoes work great. Arino leaps up towards B-3 in no time, and quickly grabs the crown. No doubt that the boss is going to be a cinch this time! … Or not. Arino goes for the jugular, but the boss — the flying Arc Winger — goes for his, and Lyll dies. Or not! The Elixir keeps Arino in the game, and the battle’s on for real!
… Or not. No matter how many magic attacks Arino pumps into the boss, it still kills him in a few short hits.
After continuing, it’s 20 more minutes to get back to the boss, and the events repeat. Eight failed attempts pass. The challenge reaches the 11-hour mark. Nakayama approaches, and suggests that Arino get the Shield item, which will keep him alive much longer in the boss fight. First he has to travel to a faraway shop, but after 20 more minutes of money-raising, Arino returns to the room with the long ladder shaft he fell through as Xemn, and per Nakayama’s tip, finds a shop hidden in the wall! And there’s the Shield!
Back to the boss with the Shield equipped. It works as advertised: Arino is barely taking any hits. He camps in the corner and keeps pelting the boss… but it’s still barely getting hurt. A moment of misplace boldness ends up killing Arino.
And then… time’s up. 12 hours have gone by, and Arino’s only completed two of the five characters. This will have to continue another day.
Fast forward two weeks later. Nakayama greets Arino upon entering. And this time, the AD has a notebook with boss tips and a few extra maps, too. Arino begins again as Lyll, and heads towards the boss room. Nakayama’s advice for the boss is pretty simple: hit it with rapid-fire shots when it gets close!
Arino does just that, and after a bit, a few bars of the boss’ health disappear! Something must be going right. But then the boss flies offscreen, with just a few bars to go! And Arino’s almost out of Magic! The boss reappears, but can Arino make it?! The answer… is yes!
And now we continue on to the mother, Meia. But before Arino begins, Nakayama comes by and assembles some of his sheets on the whiteboard. He’s developed an insanely elaborate route just for Meia’s quest; a step-by-step list of directions of where to go, and a drawn map showing the exact path.
Arino does his best to follow Nakayama’s walkthrough, but almost traps himself in a U-shaped passage that Meia can’t jump out of. He gets help from jumping onto an enemy, though. He later gets the Wing item, which lets Meia float and bust through certain blocks to create passages.
Before long, Arino gets the next crown, and warps to the boss. He slowly strolls over to the large golem, and… dead. The boss’ shots are so strong that Arino falls in one hit. Arino returns, and then checks Nakayama’s sheet. It’s the same advice! Use the Shield and rapid-fire!
Well, it works. Arino stays above the boss and pelts it while it just hops up and down stupidly, ending the battle fairly quickly.
And now for the final conflict. Arino takes command of Roas, the son; the only one who can defeat — rather, slay the dragon. Nakayama sits by Arino to guide him to the endgame.
Equipped with a crown, an Elixir, and Jump Shoes, Arino must visit several of the plaques in the dungeon that bear the face of the princess. They warp him around the dungeon, but as long as he gets every one, he’s closer to getting the Dragon Slayer blade.
After a misstep or two, Arino successfully warps around the map in the right order and and retrieves the Dragon Slayer. Now to head towards that central room and face Dilgios (a.k.a. Keela). Nakayama leaves to leave Arino to himself. A 17-hour challenge is about to come to an end.
Arino approaches the dragon’s chamber, and it comes to life! Now it’s just a one-on-one battle in a black void. Arino tries his best, but is toasted by the dragon’s flame and killed. At least it’s a short trip back. Arino checks Nakayama’s notebook. His page for the last boss is just his doodles of Roas and the dragon, and nothing else.
Arino tries again, and already seems to have the hang of it. As long as he jumps right after tossing his weapon, he can evade the dragon’s flame breath, even though he might not always hit it. Unfortunately he ends up burned again.
On the 10th attempt, Arino lasts a little longer. He always creeps forward, and jumps when he think he has to. He’s almost killed again, with just a few bars of health left, but the dragon has 20 more to go!
Stick and move; jump and shoot — Arino keeps it up without getting hit yet. Finally, he gets the dragon down to its last bar of health. The two are almost equal! And then in a flash, the final hit is dealt, and the dragon bursts into flames. As always, the crowd goes wild. Season 9 ends with a successful 17-hour challenge.
Fuji’s final "Bohkenoh" outdoor event on August 24th, 2008 hosted another Game Center CX presentation. "Retro Game Center CX" was a collaboration with Taito, where audience members could get onstage and see who could get the most loot from a crane game, with the grand prize being a tabletop Space Invaders game.
Of course, Arino was there too. Besides helping out with the stage festivities, he also got to travel the show grounds and check out the other parts of the outdoor game center. AP Tojima joins him, umbrella in hand.
Taito provided several of its classic arcade games, and the first one Arino sits down with is Elevator Action. A few minutes of play leads to a double-KO death.
Then it’s on to Night Striker, the sit-down "experience" cabinet featuring a futuristic ship darting through the city. Arino gets really into it, and when he reaches the boss, he calls for Tojima’s help. And again. Where is Tojima? He left a while ago, and is now playing the game on the other side.
Finally, it’s on to the highlight of the show: Space Invaders CX, a version of the original Space Invaders with Arino’s voice replacing the old sound effects, and Arino’s head acting as the UFO. The kacho sits down to play, but misses the UFO on the first attempt.
Tojima directs Arino, telling him that the UFO appears more assuredly if he keeps firing missed shots (about 23 of them). Arino gets close, but when he has to move to the other side of the screen, he’s killed anyway, and then the UFO shows up!
Famicom Manga Café
The featured manga this time is Famicom Wolf, yet another story about an awesome Famicom-playing kid, except this kid was raised by wolves, and can summon the spirit of the wolf to be extra awesome.
Once Arino reads one of the ridiculous first chapters, he skips to the last volume and discovers that the series was never actually finished. It ends on a cliffhanger, in fact! And, technically, does this segment.
The Xevious Observation Diary: Epilogue
After running for five months unattended and concealed in a box, now is the time to check on the Famicom-and-Xevious combo. And what has happened? It’s all mysteriously shut off. A natural passing.