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 Special – Back to Contents

Arino’s Challenge: Virtual Console: Super Mario Bros. 3

Part 1

Oddly enough, Arino is playing Super Mario Bros. 3, a game he played way too much of back in season 2, and didn’t even beat it. So why only give him five hours to play it again on Wii? Oh, well, there is that little game called New Super Mario Bros. that came out just a little bit after this video…

Arino starts the game, and almost gets all the way through World 1-1, until he’s struck by a Paratroopa. He later makes it to 1-2, where he remembers there being a 1-UP loop here somewhere.

AD Emoto comes in and sets down a TV that shows Arino the last time he played SMB3, and the exact way to perform the 1-UP loop:use Raccoon Mario to slowly bounce on the Goombas nine times until the score multiplier starts winning extra lives. He doesn’t quite grasp the physics again, though, and besides which, his thumb starts hurting in a couple of minutes — apparently it flares up pretty quickly compared to four years ago.

Eventually, Arino gives up and then dies again. He goes for the 1-UPs a second time, and finally starts the chain going. Unfortunately, he only gets about three more before falling to the ground, thus resetting the loop. Third and fourth attempts also end in death.

Emoto returns and offers to do the trick for Arino. In the face of Arino joking about his controller-holding technique (likening his thumb to the bent-over style of the Ina Bauer skating form), Emoto manages to get a full 99 lives just as the timer hits zero and he dies.

Another video shows Arino getting a warp whistle, which he then uses to get one in today’s game, but instead of warping immediately, he tries out the World 1 fortress stage. It’s a bit tense, as he misses both opportunities to grab a super mushroom, but he does make it to the boss, Boom Boom. Another bit of tension follows as Arino nearly misses when trying to jump on the speedy turtle, but again, he prevails.

And then it’s onto the first airship level. Arino manages to survive until he meets the boss, Larry Koopa, who leaps right into him. On the third attempt, though, he manages to complete World 1, and it only took two hours!!

Onto World 2, the Koopahari Desert. Arino clears the first level OK, then dies from a Hammer Brother encounter, which he rectifies by running into him with an invincibility star the second time. After beating another fortress, Arino fails the most on the "angry sun" stage, as he’s more focused on trying to destroy the sun with a Koopa shell than avoid it. But when he does strike the sun, the shell bounces back and hits Arino, too, quite effectively killing two birds with one stone… though one bird shouldn’t have died.

Arino blazes through the rest of the stages and hops on the next airship. Luckily, he beats the next boss, Morton, on the first try. Then, World 3, the watery island world. After dying one too many times, Arino opts to use the P-Wing to just glide over the tricky World 3-2. And then he gets a 2-UP at the end of the stage. Yay!

But then, the next stage is extra tricky, as Arino fights against fluctuating water levels and the ever-present Big Bertha. After a few more lives are lost, it’s almost Time Up for Arino. Producer Kan tells Arino that, basically, if he complets World 4, that will be good enough for today, so Arino warps there on the next go.

Unfortunately, World 4’s Giant Land is filled with treacherous enemies and platforms, that are as hard to deal with giant-sized as they are when they were normal-sized. Go figure. Pretty soon, Arino taps the last of those 99 lives, and it’s Game Over for the last time. Well, it’s not like Mario 3 is a game that any first-timer (or first-time-in-a-long-timer like Arino) can wrap up in five hours, anyway.

Part 2

Arino comes back for a second attempt. This time, Emoto has prepared him with both warp whistles and 97 lives. So Arino skips the middleman and uses both whistles to warp straight to World 8, the place where he died so early on years ago.

World 8 starts with the first batallion stage, with a mess of cannonballs and Bob-Ombs flying all over the place. Naturally, Arino loses a few lives — OK, more than 20 — but makes it to the end eventually, where he enters a pipe and faces a Boomerang Bro as the boss. After some hesitation, Arino stomps on it in one hit.

After that is the battleship stage, where Arino must avoid cannonballs and the danger of drowning. Eventually he’s squished under by the ship, but makes it to the end to face a Boom Boom. But he overshoots his jump, and Boom Boom runs right into him. The second try is better, despite extra yelling from Arino.

He reaches the next part of the World 8 map, the gauntlet of five stages that may or may not "activate" and pull him into them. One does, and it’s a face-off with a Fire Bro that Arino immediately loses. After retrying, Arino is caught in another trap stage, and must get through a mini-fortress before finally getting past the gauntlet and approaching… the flying ship stage.

Here’s where Arino died a lot last time — the tiny platforms zoom across the stage, and Arino has to make some careful, yet perfect jumps without getting hit by the enemies. It doesn’t work that way — missed jump after missed jump is made, and soon, Arino is down to just six lives. The screams and laughter continue for a few minutes until AD Emoto comes by and offers to start over for him.

Emoto takes the controls and starts over by using the 1-UP loop in 1-2 to get up to 90+ lives, and then we fast forward to the battleship stage, where Emoto uses a classic trick: swimming under the ships while hammering on the A button to keep afloat. Arino is shocked, and soon, Emoto jumps up to the exit pipe.

He gets back to the flying ships, where Arino takes over. This time he has 88 lives to burn through, but the pressure is still on. In fact, all the jumping starts to take its toll on Arino, who wasn’t the spry early-30s guy he used to be. But finally, 28 lives later, he makes it to the exit pipe. That’s enough for celebration.

Unfortunately, Arino has to beat another Boom Boom, which starts flying after its hit once. Of course, it divebombs and kills Arino once he tries a jump. After more failed attempts, Arino’s down to 17 lives before making it to the exit again. He pauses, and Emoto comes back to the desk with a plan of attack. Using the whiteboard, he draws out how Arino should approach Boom Boom. Unfortunately, once he actually plays, he hits Boom Boom, only to stand in one place as Boom Boom recovers and kills him.

Emoto comes by and tells Arino he only has one hour left for this challenge, so the AD quickly puts his chair back and gets Arino a bunch of lives (79) and goes back to the damnable flying ships. With 76 lives left, he challenges Boom Boom again, but still manages to die. And die. And die. The staff’s yelling is getting to Arino, as he eventually tells them (playfully) to be quiet.

With 25 lives left, Arino jumps on Boom Boom three times in rapid succession, finally winning the battle. And then, it’s on to the real stage 8-1, where he gave up on the game all those years ago. Sadly, it’s still a huge challenge, with a bunch of piranha plants spitting fire and Bullet Bills all over the place.

On his final life, Arino gets farther through the stage than he ever had, but accidentally jumps straight up into a Bullet Bill. Game Over. However, Arino chooses to keep going for one more day.

Part 3

Arino comes back on the third day, and this time Emoto presents him with a much stricter five-hour schedule, one that maps out every stage Arino is expected to clear starting from 8-1, and also includes a lunch break. Another staffer, Ms. Honda, will be acting as timekeeper. In fact, she soon gives Arino t-minus 10 seconds to begin playing!

Arino continues at World 8-1, with 86 lives. Naturally, he starts losing those pretty quickly. At one point, he paints himself into a corner between a Boo and a piranha plant. He squeezes by, but then traps himself next to a Boo again. 10 minutes left for this one, says Honda.

Arino reaches a note block before a large gap, and he must use that to bounce himself over the pipe. It takes several tries, and even when he makes it over the pipe, he still falls to his death. But fear not: He plants himself on the pipe eventually, then leaps over and sees the wonderful glowing goal block to end the stage.

Three hours and 40 minutes remain as Arino reaches 8-2. The sandy slopes and reappearance of the Angry Sun provide a new headache for him. After getting across one big gap via note blocks, he has to run up a slope while avoiding the sun as well as fireballs from the piranha plants. After a few too many deaths, Emoto comes by and offers knowledge of a shortcut that will no doubt help Arino, and get him far enough just in time for lunch.

Emoto directs Arino to the first quicksand trap in the stage, and simply tells him to jump in and wait. Arino’s hesitant, but as he watches Mario sink into the quicksand, it leads to a secret underground passage that thereby leads to a bonus room, and then back out to the halfway mark — where Arino immediately dies from a fireball. But after that, it’s smooth going, and 8-2 is complete.

The World 8 fortress is next, and it’s extra confusing, using a maze of doors all connected to different rooms, and only a few lead him down the right path. Luckily, Emoto helps, but Arino still has to do the playing himself. Lots of slips into the lava start him off, which eventually lead to another Game Over.

Emoto leaves for a second, then comes back to the room with a second Wii that he was just using. On that one, he’s already prepared a copy of Mario 3 that will start Arino right at the fortres with 80 lives. And so, Arino makes his way to the end of the fortress, where he encounters the cursed Boom Boom once more. Another quick death, but the second try is successful.

Just then, Honda says it’s time for lunch, and so, 40 minutes later, Arino returns to the game. Going by the whiteboard, he’s surprisingly on time!

The final two levels are another tank stage, and then Bowser’s castle. Arino has 2 hours and 15 minutes left, so he jumps right into it — literally, he jumps right into a cannonball at the start of the tank stage. After a few more misses, Arino tries using a Starman to get through at least the first few bits of the stage, but of course, that only works so well, and soon he’s dead again.

He tries a Fire Flower, which actually helps him better, and soon, Arino’s made it to the exit pipe. One more Boom Boom fight is in the cards, but he’s defeated in one try. Now an even two hours are left for Arino to beat the game. Hopefully.

Arino enters Bowser’s castle, and a Bowser statue kills him with a laser immediately. He learns his lesson on the next try, but the rest of the castle is no cakewalk, with more confusing doors and treacherous platform layouts. With three lives left, Arino chooses to use the P Wing to happily fly his way through the castle.

Well, it definitely works — Arino reaches the final room and faces off against Bowser — though he has no idea of that until Bowser jumps down and startles him. Bowser continues jumping and breathing fire, but Arino has no idea how to hurt him. Soon, he’s killed, and two more times at that until it’s Game Over. But Emoto wuickly rushes in with the other Wii that starts Arino at the castle with 50-some lives.

Emoto then draws out the Bowser scene on the whiteboard, telling Arino that the only way Bowser can be defeated is by the big turtle’s own feet — in other words, Arino must lure Bowser to the center of the brick floor and let the turtle create a hole to fall in. It’s not easy at first, as Arino misjudges Bowser’s jumping trajectory, and loses a few more lives.

Seven minutes remain in the challenge. Arino gets back to the boss fight, where the pressure is really on. This time, he deftly escapes Bowser’s jumps, and stands right in the center.After two jumps, just one remains before Bowser’s gone. Arino’s hit by a fireball, but manages to run to the center just in time for Bowser to leap up, then fall down to his own demise.

Princess Peach is rescued, and four years later, Arino finally completes Super Mario 3.

After all that’s said and done, Arino still has some time left, so he’s asked if he wants to try out New Super Mario Bros. Wii. And so he does! Arino plays with the Propeller Hat and learns some of the finer points of the game. Later, Emoto and Honda join in for some multiplayer action, but even when the producer says they’re done for the day, they keep playing.

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