Game Center CX Season 10 – Back to Contents
A Life of Nothing but Running! "Chelnov"
Nothing like an old-fashioned action game with a twist. Data East’s Chelnov was part platformer, part shoot-em-up: the hero, Chelnov, always runs forward. And while he can stop, the screen always scrolls forward anyway. Couple this with long levels filled with enemies placed at the least convenient spots, and you have a pretty good game for Arino to try to tackle. Even as he looks at the screenshots on the back of the box, he knows this is going to be a hard one.
The game starts, and the first thing Arino notices is the Option menu. He considers checking it out first, thinking it might help, but he goes against it for now. After doing some jumping and playing with weapons, it’s not long before the first enemies swoop in and Arino already dies. On the third attempt, he gets through the trouble spot okay, but ends up turning Chelnov backwards. Not knowing how he did that, Arino tries to jump and shoot as best he can with an about-faced hero, but he’s soon struck by enemy fire.
On the next life, Arino gets farther than ever, partly thanks to learning that he can stomp on most enemies to defeat them. But he still flips Chelnov around halfway through and ends up dead from the miniboss, a mechanical phoenix. He does manage to kill it on the next try, but the deaths start coming faster and faster by that point. Soon, his continues run out, and the last Game Over leads back to the title screen. For now, Arino takes it in stride and restarts.
This time Arino finally figures out that it was the C button that was changing Chelnov’s direction. A few more lost lives later, Arino makes it to the end of the stage (still the first one, mind you) — and once he sees the giant dragon boss, he pauses. He takes a moment, unpauses, and is killed in seconds from the dragon’s breath. And on the next attempt, the dragon simply thrusts forward and kills Arino.
And yet, after a third attempt, after understanding the pattern better, he hits the dragon enough times to kill it. Stage 2 awaits, and it’s no more fair. He’s killed in seconds, and is sent back to stage 1. Subsequent attempts are baby steps, and before long Arino’s back to the title screen. This time Arino tries the Option screen. Not only can you change the lives counter, you can raise the Continue counter — up to 15! Arino’s surprised, and perhaps… optimistic? With 15 continues at five lives each, Arino gives himself 75 chances right off the bat. Whatever works!
Stage 2 continues to torture him, however. Another dragon pops up out of the murk halfway through, and chases after Arino. Luckily, he can jump on it to hurt it, so he bops it on the head a few times and keeps going. Deaths keep racking up later in the stage, but Arino makes it to the boss eventually. It’s a giant dogu (clay figure) that hops back and forth across the screen, raining some sort of missiles down on Arino. He does okay at first, but when the missiles come, he’s instantly killed, as he has no idea how to dodge them. This continues for several more attempts, until finally Arino gets a handle on things and manages to pump enough laser shots into the boss. And then it’s gone!
Stage 3 starts out fine, but then another dragon midboss makes a surprise appearance and kills Arino. Again, this goes on for a few more tries until he finally toasts it. At least he still has a bunch of lives left. But after attempting to cross a stream with only small platforms to help him get across, Arino uses up the last of his lives, and the dreaded Sega logo appears once more. Yep, 75 lives and they’re all spent before the fourth stage.
Arino pushes through the game again, losing just a handful of lives before getting back to stage 3. He reaches the stream section again, and manages to make it across in one go, thanks to some careful jumping and lucky shooting. He soon makes it to the boss — a fighter ship of some kind — but once again dies instantly. Subsequent attempts are much better, even death-defying, as Arino leaps through bullet patterns and past enemy drones.
But he’s not perfect, and loses more than few lives. He clinches it, though, when he hangs out on a platform off to the left side and just fires away, jumping whenever the bullets come. The boss soon falls, and it’s on to stage 4.
Another bird miniboss like the one in stage 1 causes Arino to barely make it to the end of stage 4, where the boss is another dogu that falls right on him and kills him again. And then it’s just like old times — falling missiles, stupid jumps and plain hesitation keep Arino out of the game again and again. When he thinks he has the pattern down, he doesn’t.
Following failure after failure, Arino dies normally from an enemy on one attempt and soon sees the Sega logo again. It’s back to the start! We’re spared the journey back to stage 4. After a few more failed tries, Arino soon figures out what the boss’ actual weakpoint is: not its eyes, necessarily, but the green jewel in the middle of its head! Its eyes can still be destroyed, of course, so Arino keeps aiming for them. He blows one of them away, and after some careful jumping…
…The second one goes! The dogu explodes! Thank goodness! Or not. It has a second form, and immediately starts attacking! The second dogu throws its own head around, and after one jump, Arino is toast.
That second form poses at least one problem: the moving head makes it harder to judge where the falling missiles are going to end up, and that ends up being the source of most of Arino’s deaths. However, it doesn’t take many more tries until the boss is defeated. It’s not luck or stumbling onto a trick that does it, just simple repetition. Three stages remain.
Arino dies halfway through stage 5, and then up comes that familiar logo. Arino goes back through stage 4, but continues getting stuck at the boss. Back in stage 5, Arino reaches a series of large metal weights suspended by metal poles. He shoots out the poles, but quickly realizes the weights come down after them! He’s squashed a few times, but eventually does get past the gauntlet of them. Unfortunately, he loses the rest of his lives after that, in particularly tricky parts of the stage.
Arino does get to the boss, and the fight opens up with a shower of rocks, which he miraculously survives, and then the bird boss swoops in. It surprises him at first, but all it takes is a couple more tries before he blasts it away. A nice of change of pace for once.
It’s snowing in stage 6, and there’s barely any solid ground for the first half, so Arino must resort to jumping across the heads of enemies. Needless to say, he doesn’t do too well at it. Hell, even when there are platforms ,he slips off. And before long, all the continues are gone again. The challenge ticks past nine hours. At that point, AD Nakayama finally comes into view.
He has help for Arino, but not in the game-playing sense. Instead he has a variety of massage tools. He and Arino try to figure out how to use them, from the rollers to the eye mask to the… pincher thing. Nakayama then sits down to get Arino back on track, while Arino stares at him with the eye mask.
Nakayama gets Arino back to stage 6, and the kacho does much better, jumping and shooting near-flawlessly. He soon reaches the boss: a giant blue robot who, of course, shoots him down in seconds. The robot also breaks itself apart and reforms, which makes it really easy for Arino to accidentally jump into it. Eventually, he lucks into the pattern: stay close to avoid the robot’s beams, and then shoot at the core of its body as it floats around. The core sticks around for a while, letting Arino pace back and forth while shooting at it.
He almost has it down when the legs reappear and stomp him again! Several more attempts go by, despite Arino basically getting the pattern down — it’s always a misstep or over-exaggerated reflex that does him in. Finally, after what seems like forever, Arino hits the core just enough times for it to explode before it reforms. And there was much rejoicing.
And now, the final stage! Yet in what seems like a predictable pattern now, Arino loses the last couple of lives he has right at the beginning of the stage. He retries, only to lose all his continues again by stage 6.
He does make it back to stage 7, and survives long enough to reach what is apparently the last boss: a gold idol in a wall? Arino quickly pelts it with fire, blocking its own shots, and it seems to work! Too well, in fact. Soon, the idol emerges from the wall, revealing a much larger walking robot. Arino panics! He jumps high, but just falls right back down onto the boss.
And so it continues: the boss’ rapid stomping constantly freaks Arino out. He tries to see if he can jump onto its arm, but that doesn’t work. Before long, Arino’s continues run out. He’s handed the clock to be shown that it’s past midnight. At least he has 75 more chances before giving up! Yeah… at least.
And this time, the end is nigh: Arino’s weapons are fully powered, and he manages to consistent hit the boss in the face as it moves back and forth. In a matter of seconds, the boss is destroyed! Well, half of it. Arino thinks he’s done, but in fact there’s a second part to the fight atop the Statue of Liberty. The boss, now only half a man, floats around and pokes Arino with one beam, killing him. Five continues are left, and by the last one, Arino manages to get to the second phase again. This time, he hops on the boss’ head while shooting, which keeps him mostly safe. Arino’s weapon, which destroys the boss’ blue beams, is the key element to succeeding. With enough shots, the boss is finally destroyed.
Singing About Whatever the Hell You Want
This time, Arino starts singing lyrics from viewers. The Mario tune from last time is included, but also the "death" tune from Ninja Gaiden and the victory theme from Mega Man 2. Everything from chanting the name of a cleaning product to trumpeting the receiving of e-mail is covered in the lyrics.
The Game-itization Project 2
Arino visits the developers at Indies Zero to further plan for Arino no Chousenjou 2. The staff gathers in the same meeting room as last time as Arino pitches ideas on a whiteboard. His first character idea, a Bowser-type in a lab coat called "Dr. Goopa," gets a not-so-enthusiastic groan from president Suzui.
And then, cameraman Abe comes in with his latest artistic creation. Is it as wacky as his "Tsuppari Daimyo" idea from last time? No, it’s a more "moe" character: a bespectacled girl based on the one Arino met back in Hokkaido.
Kibe-kun then comes up with a game idea: something based on Namco’s Sanma no Meitantei, a Famicom detective adventure starring a famous comedian. Suzui brings up Famicom Detective Club as well.
Fast forward two weeks later, and Arino returns to Indies Zero. There, they have something for him: the first main illustration from Chousenjou 2’s adventure game, "The Kacho is a Great Detective." Pretty much every GCCX staff member is featured, from Arino all the way to NBGI president Shukuo! The first game-within-the-game is ready to go, and the project can only get more exciting from here!