April 10th, 2007 | Feature
The Game Center CX Episode Guide
The front-to-back tribute to the Japanese TV show that flies in the face of Nintendo's epilepsy warnings.


Game Center CX Season 11 – Back to Contents

A Yoiko TKO? "Punch-Out!!"


Arino opens the show by cracking up — director Urakawa’s weird countdown to recording time gave him the giggles. Anyway, let’s get down to business: this episode’s challenge is Nintendo’s classic NES/Famicom game, Punch-Out!!

It’s kind of a special challenge for the show, since Punch-Out!! only came out in Japan as a prize for those who placed high in a Famicom Golf tournament. So, while many Americans know Punch-Out!!, it’s not quite on the same level to the Japanese (though, perhaps not coincidentally, the new Wii version of Punch-Out!! came out just a bit before this episode aired). It also explains why the cartridge is gold-plated.

Arino steps into the ring, and of course begins by fighting Glass Joe. Since he has no idea how to play, he begins by making Little Mac dodge left and right repeatedly, and pushes buttons until he finally starts punching Joe. Eventually Joe steps back, and lands his first power punch on Arino. After dodging the next one, Arino lands a few more successive punches, and eventually knocks Joe down.

Joe quickly stands back up, though Arino continues to land jabs. Luckily, just before he’s knocked down himself, the bell rings — three minutes are up, and Round 2 is coming up. Arino keeps earning stars for landing sweet punches, but he has no idea how they work yet. Eventually, he knocks Joe down again, though it’s not enough for a TKO (where he must knock down an opponent three times in one round).

We move to Round 3, where Glass Joe again walks right into Arino’s gloves, and before long, he gets a TKO before the final round ends! And then, it’s on to the next opponent: Von Kaiser. Kaiser’s trickier, ducking and being a little faster on his feet. Arino almost loses it, but he’s the first one to get a knockdown… until Kaiser retaliates and knocks down Arino mere seconds later.

After the bell rings to end the round (just before Kaiser lands another big hit!), Arino is downed more often, and after failling to dodge Kaiser enough times, Arino finally loses to a TKO. He continues from the Kaiser fight, and finally starts to learn the error of his ways. A dozen punches later, Kaiser is finally down for good.

Now it’s onto the Minor Circuit Title Bout, against Piston Honda! Honda’s the largest fighter yet, and also the fastest yet. Arino gets a few punches in, but then Honda steps back, hops back and forth, then unleashes a flurry of hard-hitters. Arino’s taken completely off-guard, and he takes almost every punch. Honda finishes with an uppercut, and Arino, of course, goes right down.

Once he gets back up, Arino isn’t much more keen as to what Honda will do. His next "Piston Rush" (move named by Arino) still fools him, though this time, he’s saved by the bell. Two more failures and Arino is served with a TKO. And, unfortunately, he ranks down and is forced to continue at Von Kaiser. Even Kaiser gets the best of Arino, and he receives another Game Over.

Fast forward to Honda again, and Arino’s still trying to avoid the Rush. After getting another star, he finally figures out how to use it — it activates a super uppercut of his own, and all he had to do was push every button until he found the right one: Start. That uppercut helps him knock down Honda.

Another knockdown in Round 2, but it’s not the end. Honda gets ready for another Rush but Arino is equally ready: finally, he learns the timing of Honda’s punches and blocks every one… well, except for the finishing uppercut. We go into Round 3, and again Arino succesfully dodges the punches, including the uppercut, and gives Honda a taste of his own medicine with a star uppercut! Honda falls, but quickly gets back up, and his life bar fills to the rim. But Arino lands another star punch, and that finally does it. Honda is KO’d for good, and Arino wins the title. As the intermission plays, he even gets a password that he subsequently writes down.

The next circuit starts with the nimble Don Flamenco (who, Arino points out, looks like good ol’ AP Tojima). He practically begs Arino to punch him, and so when he does, he retaliates immediately. Arino is repeatedly knocked down this way, and eventually loses to a TKO. Fortunately, the password is already entered when he gets a Game Over, so he just jumps right back into the action.

Still, it’s a lot of work. Arino is knocked down repeatedly, and fails to get up sometimes, winning Flamenco a KO. It’s only through persistence that Arino finally whacks Flamenco enough times to earn a KO himself, and then move on to the next fight.

And this one is a doozy. Arino must now face King Hippo, the barking fatman of Hippo Island. Hippo’s defense is seemingly impenetrable, and his offense swift and relentless. Each punch knocks Arino down immediately, and he soon loses to a TKO. Subsequent tries aren’t much better, and soon it’s Game Over time.

After losing over a dozen times, AD Ito walks over with some assistance, in the form of a visual strategy guide she drew. It’s a simple four-panel comic of sorts that shows Mac hitting Hippo as his mouth is open.

Arino gives it a try. When Hippo is struck with his mouth open, his shorts drop. Arino doesn’t really notice, though, and continues to punch normally as Hippo consistently blocks. Next time, though, it finally clicks: Arino lands low punches to Hippo’s exposed belly, which really hurts the rotund royal. Unfortunately, that doesn’t end the round, and Hippo manages to stay awake and finish off Arino with a TKO.

Just as Arino gets back in the groove and starts hitting Hippo’s exposed belly again, the clock strikes three, and the round is over! Later, Arino "earns" himself another KO, and things start looking dire, despite Arino laughing it off. Finally, though, Arino hits the belly enough that Hippo finally stumbles and falls over. In fact, that’s more than enough to completely KO the big guy and win the match! Took long enough.

The next opponent is Great Tiger, who seems to be a regular fighter in the first round, but by the second, he throws teleportation into the mix. His power move involves warping around the ring in a circle and delivering high-speed blows once he reaches Arino. As expected, Arino is totally surprised, and falls easily to a quick KO. Aaaand Game Over. Unfortunately, he can only continue from Don Flamenco, so it takes a little time to get back to Tiger.

When Arino does make it back, he’s ready for Tiger’s teleporting, and succesfully blocks almost all of his punches. After that’s done, Tiger gets dizzy and stops, but Arino doesn’t realize he can hit! And just then, the bell rings! By Round 2, Arino finally nails Tiger, and again in Round 3, though of course, he gets up, and Arino loses once more.

On the next try, on Round 3 and with just a little bit of time left, Arino gets up after a knockdown and retaliates, knocking down Tiger with just 20 seconds to go in the round… and getting a TKO!

Next is the Title Bout, and Arino faces the gargantuan Bald Bull. Bull spends little time playing around and quickly moves into his "Bull Charge," where he dashes down the ring and attempts a powerful uppercut. Arino dodges the hit, but Bull just keeps charging until he lands a hit. Arino lets the clock run out, and then in the next round, he falls instantly to a regular punch.

A couple of attempts later, Arino finally figures it out: hit Bull with a body blow just before he gets too close. Doing so knocks Bull down, but of course, the big Turk gets up in just a few seconds, and once again sends Arino to the mat in a TKO, and gets him another Game Over.

The TKOs keep coming, and Arino is getting visibly weathered. Arino returns to Bull for the 29th time, and is ready to punch him at the end of a Bull Charge when, once again, the bell rings at the exact split second he would have hit. And when Arino tries a star punch next time, Bull actually dodges it. It all leads to another KO.

Arino puts on a cold pad — oops, it’s the kid’s size one. Well, no big deal; it does the same thing. With chilled forehead, he continues to fight, and finally, on the 35th attempt, Arino succesfully hits Bull after two Bull Charges, which makes for a total of three in the whole match — a TKO! Another title is awarded, and Arino gets a new password.

But for the World Circuit, Piston Honda returns! Honda is a little faster than last time, but mostly the same. Still, the time away must have led to some short-term memory loss for Arino, because he still falls to him as easily as before. After a few attempts, though, Arino gets more knockdowns, but Honda’s knockdowns are pretty powerful, forcing Arino to really mash the buttons. It still doesn’t really help.

On the next attempt, though, the third round ends with no knockouts, so the match is decided. And it’s decided in Arino’s favor! A lucky win, in some ways. No time to celebrate, though; it’s onto the next bout.

Now, Arino faces Soda Popinski, another gigantic brawler. He’s speedy as heck, though, and keeps winning TKO after TKO. Arino’s at a loss. And of course, a Game Over leads him back to Piston Honda. Arino wins by decision again, but then it’s back to the hell of the Popinski fight.

Just then, AD Emoto appears, holding a chair and draped with a towel. He offers to be Arino’s second, offering advice whenever he wants, just by going over to the chair. OK, then — Arino doens’t even get back to the game, he just goes right over to the chair. Emoto gives the best advice he can for the start of the fight, and then Arino goes back to the game.

Popinski continues to slaughter Arino, and Arino gets another Game Over, being forced to work his way back through Honda. After several TKOs, AD Emoto speaks up again, and asks if he can give the game a shot, while Arino takes his place as second.

The two men trade places, and Emoto tries his hand at Popinski. Emoto starts well, deftly dodging Popinski’s uppercuts and counteringm with a series of his own. But soon he chokes, and Popinski gets the upper hand, downing Emoto. At that point, Arino literally throws in the towel.

Emoto doesn’t stop, though. He loses again, and Arino throws the towel again. The AD is wrecked; his timing ruined. Arino even taunts him by laughing like Popinski! Still refusing to give up, Emoto asks to try Piston Honda.

After nothing happens in the first round against Honda, Emoto begrudgingly sits down in the other chair. Arino does his best coach impression by shaking some confidence into the AD. Emoto goes back to the game, but still only gets past round 2 with both he and Honda standing.

By now, both men are at a loss, but Emoto is called back to the ring. Eventually, he loses to Honda by KO. It’s a good time to change players, so Arino returns to his original seat. Arino beats Honda by decision again, and returns to Popinski. Needless to say, little has changed, and Popinski still wins by brute force.

Arino is then given a towel of a different kind — the clock. He’s then asked if he wants to give up or– "That!" Says Arino in reponse. Well, he’ll give up here, but he wonders if he should take this game to the 24-hour special, as well. So it shall be: a live rematch with Soda Popinski!

Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Strategy Guides

Another selection from the Tower of Druaga book, this time correlating the unpredictable movement of Slimes to one’s journey through life.

Game Center CX News

Arino and the staff have a meeting regarding the upcoming 24-hour special, especially in regards to what games will be played. Arino thinks of some "favorites" from earlier seasons, including Astro Robo SASA and Adventure Island, as well as Genpei Touma Den from this season.

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