Game Center CX Season 10 – Back to Contents
Nakayama’s Top Recommendation… "Garou Densetsu Special"
Many popular games for all the biggest of the old systems have been on the show, but now Arino sits down with the physically biggest: SNK’s Neo Geo. The game? Fatal Fury Special, an improved version of Fatal Fury 2. The challenge: defeat all 15 characters to see the ending.
Before he inserts the (humongous) cartridge into the (humongous) system, AD Nakayama arrives. He declares that this game is one of his favorite fighting games, and that he’s ready to lend his expertise to Arino. With that, Arino blows hard into the cartridge and shoves it into the system.
He starts the game on Normal difficulty, then peruses the character lineup. Arino chooses Joe Higashi, then chooses Mai as his opponent. He tries hard, but is quickly beaten, and then again in round 2. After checking the manual, Arino stars over and chooses Andy Bogard. The elderly warrior Tung Fu Rue is his opponent, and is again beaten senselessly, finished off by Tung Fu Rue’s spiritual "strongman" attack. The staff laughs at Arino’s defeat. He decides to try Tung Fu Rue next time to see if he can pull off that same move.
As Tung, Arino fights the wrestler Big Bear, but continues to just mash the buttons over and over, and never gets close to pulling off that big move (he manages a couple of fireballs, though). Another loss. For the next attempt, Arino chooses Wolfgang Krauser, the boss of Fatal Fury 2. Certainly the most powerful character in the game will help him out? Not so.
By now, Arino just goes through practically the entire roster, but no one is helping him win any easier. He could really use Dhalsim right about now — that’s his favorite in Street Fighter II. While not the same, he goes back to Joe, since he’s just as lanky. With a character settled, the challenge now begins for real!
Starting with the portly Cheng, Arino uses Joe to beat on his opponent. He’s now learned a couple of moves, namely the Slash Kick and the Hurricane Upper, both powerful moves that can turn the tides quickly. Amazingly, he wins the first round. He almost loses the second, either due to a regular beating or the timer counting down. He doesn’t quite beat Cheng with fists, but time ticks away and Arino has the health advantage, so he wins stage 1.
The next battle is against Andy, and things once again turn sour. After losing once again, AD Nakayama returns. He wonders if Arino’s grip on the joystick is the problem. He has Arino demonstrate how he usually plays, and then Nakayama suggests a different way to hold the stick: three fingers around the ball, with the other two tucked back.
With that in mind, Arino starts again, fighting Big Bear. He loses round 1, but pulls through in rounds 2 and 3! Apparently, Nakayama’s advice worked. But then the next stage is against Joe himself! The blue-colored Joe is much smarter than Arino’s, and quickly starts wailing on him. Arino mashes the buttons like crazy, trying hard to get some form of a move out, and violently shaking the TV in the process. And that’s just round 1!
The pain continues as Arino is repeatedly beaten by Joe’s double. He starts over, and is then assaulted by Andy some more. Andy… Andy… why not try Andy again? Arino switches characters, and now it’s Andy vs. Andy. It’s still not enough, though. Nakayama returns, and offers to join in Arino’s game just to teach him a couple of moves. We start with Andy’s fireball. Nakayama pulls it off without a sweat, but Arino struggles. Nakayama tells him to push the punch button after inputting the directions, though, and that’s when he nails it. Finally, the pupil begins to grasp the techniques.
After a spirited sparring match against Nakayama, Arino moves on to face the computer-controlled Andy once again. Even with the moves in his head and the manual in front of him, he still loses. Things are getting dire after eight hours. Nakayama returns once more, and says that Arino can win this challenge if he beats the final hidden boss, the 16th character that isn’t on the roster. Well, that much is obvious, but Nakayama also offers to get him there.
And so it is. Nakayama plugs in his joystick and memory card and starts kicking ass as Andy. He impresses Arino constantly with his quick moves and near-perfect plays (whenever he loses, Arino tries a round… then gives the stick right back). Nakayama gets up to the first boss, Krauser, He’s not perfect, and indeed almost loses a second round, but eventually lands the final blow. Arino applauds the AD, but now it’s all about him.
Arino must now face the extra boss in Fatal Fury Special: Ryo Sakazaki from Art of Fighting! And needless to say, it’s a one-sided game. At least four tries go by before Arino starts over again. This time, he goes back to trusty ol’ Joe. Amazingly, after losing one round, Arino lucks into a spot where he keeps hitting Ryo with punches, and they actually connect! He wins the round! The pressure’s rocketing! For the third and final round, Arino just keeps punching, and it just keeps working.
Ryo starts fighting back, though! He gets Arino’s life bar past the halfway point, but the kacho doesn’t back down. Finally, in the blink of an eye, Arino lands the final blows! He wins!
After 13 hours, the final challenge of season 10 ends happily. But there is some bad news: after this, Nakayama is leaving the show. For two seasons, he proved his worth as an AD, and he’ll surely make an appearance again, but for now, it’s time to go. Onward to season 11!
Arino is in Kawasaki to visit what is no doubt one of the weirdest game centers in all of Japan: Warehouse Kawasaki, a windowless tower that looks like one of the rusted-out locations in a Silent Hill game. It’s several floors of various games, new and old, video and tangible, and it’s only for patrons 18 and up.
Arino lucks out and finds the "retro game" corner first, and sits down at a Space Harrier cabinet for a few minutes. After that, he tries a tabletop version of Taito’s Front Line, the simplistic military action game.
Next to Space Harrier is another Sega classic: Super Hang-On! Arino usually has cameraman Abe play it while he sits behind, but this time the machine actually has a sticker on it forbidding "two-player" play. Well, it’s too small anyway. But after playing and losing, Arino has Abe play it, while Arino just stands behind him as if he really were sitting there.
The next game that catches Arino’s eye is Gashaaan, a Konami game that looks like a regular ball-tossing game, but with two big video screens that respond to hits. Arino calls over AD Nakayama to assist him, and the two toss balls at bottles and whatnot in a couple of minigames. After that, they must destroy a series of meteors crashing down on Earth. A humongous one follows that, and the two men must try to destroy it with as many balls as possible. Everybody cheers on Nakayama, but unfortunately, he tosses an armful of balls just after the last second counts down!
To cap things off, Arino tries a UFO catcher from Atlus that features ice cream treats on the bottom. Before playing, he calls over AD Watanabe and asks her which one she prefers — that would be the caramel sandwich. He goes for it, but loses. Watanabe just looks at him, expecting a second try. Oh, the pressure! Eventually, he gets a smaller ice cream cup, and the two end the day by sharing it with each other.
The Game-itization Project 2
With Chousenjou 2 almost done, Arino sits down with the game and tries out a few of the games within, including Mutekiken Kung Fu, Demon Returns, Guadia Quest Saga.