Game Center CX Season 12 – Back to Contents
Temporary Rainbow Bridges – "Rainbow Islands"
Back to a good old GCCX standard: the cutesy action game! This time, it’s Rainbow Islands from Taito, the first sequel to Bubble Bobble. In it, the dinosaurs-turned-humans Bubby and Bobby must rescue a princess, and rather than blowing bubbles, the boys shoot rainbows that they can use to climb up the levels. Arino has little idea what to expect, as usual, so he just goes right for it.
Predictably, the rainbow-shooting mechanics provide some confusion, but soon Arino figures out how to use them as stair steps, as well as their dual purpose as weapons. After some trial-and-error (that is to say, a few deaths), Arino makes it to the end of the first level. Bonus items fly out of a treasure chest, and Arino gets all but a couple before the screen immediately turns to black, and then shifts to the next level.
World 1-2 isn’t too hard, but 1-3 is where Arino starts tripping up again, and flushes the rest of his lives away, getting a Game Over, of course. Unfortunately, choosing "continue" just bumps him back to 1-1 — in other words, it always takes him back to the start of the whole world.
By the end of 1-1 on his second go, Arino collects a few more mysterious alphabet letters than he had before, earning him what appears to be the word "RAI." Later, he gets the letter "O," making "RAI O." Clearly, the player can spell "rainbow," but Arino has yet to discover the point of it. Finally, Arino makes it past the rest of World 1’s stages, and engages the first boss, Super Kumongah the giant spider.
Well, "engage" may not be the right word — Kumongah immediately flies down and crushes Arino, barely giving him a chance. And on the second try, he only lasts a few extra moments. Eventually, though, by the third try, Arino figures out that he should just shoot a single rainbow at the spider as it comes down, and that keeps the pattern going long enough for the boss to be defeated.
World 2-1 begins, but just as Arino starts moving, AD Emoto arrives from the front of the room. Now that Arino’s gotten the hang of the game, pretty much, the AD can deliver the bad news: Arino won’t get the real ending at this rate. Rather, he needs to make sure to collect seven differently-colored diamonds before finishing each world in order to earn the "big diamonds" at the end of them. Arino begrudgingly resets the game and begins hunting for diamonds.
There’s a trick to getting diamonds, but to Arino, they seem to appear randomly, so he just makes sure to get rid of every enemy he sees. Just before the end of 1-1, he gets an orange diamond, and the letter "A." On 1-2, a crazy stroke of luck happens where he grabs a star-shaped item, which turns all immediate enemies into diamonds. Jackpot! Four diamonds to get! Arino goes right for them, but after getting two, the rest disappear! Some big groans from the room on that one.
No huge loss though, since Arino grabs a few more after that, and makes it to the end of 1-2 with "RANBO." 1-3 gets him even closer, leaving just the "I" left to be found, but 1-3 is a bust otherwise.
Miraculously, Arino gets the final diamond just before clearing 1-4. He whips Super Kumongah for a second time, and then after that, a special cut-scene appears where Bobby presents Bubby (Arino) with the first big diamond.
World 2 begins, but once again, AD Emoto comes by. Arino calls him "Bobby," but he politely declines. This time, Bobby asks Arino if he understands how the diamonds appear. Well, no. So Emoto goes into an explanation of how the diamonds appear and what colors they come in. Essentially, there are seven invisible columns that run across the screen, and wherever a diamond-carrying enemy lands, its color is determined by which column it’s in. To help, Emoto crafted a sheet of paper with the columns written down, for Arino to put under the TV.
The sheet helps Arino visually, but he quickly dies from other means and gets another Game Over. He gets back to world 2, and by 2-2, only needs two more diamonds left — seems like the knowledge of the invisible columns is working out. But right as he gets the next diamond, he’s killed by a rogue helicopter enemy. On the next life, though, he finally gets the final diamond.
He’s still a bit too fast climbing up the level, though, and before long, loses enough lives to get a Game Over and lose all his diamonds. Sheesh — well, we just fast-forward through the next attempt, and reach 3-3S, where Arino finally has all the diamonds/letters and reaches the end. Finally, he makes it to the second boss, Super Helibou, a giant helicopter (yet so adorable!). Helibou constantly drops bombs as it flies around, so Arino just starts laying rainbows all around the screen. Unfortunately, they don’t drop instantly, so he ends up getting pinched by the boss a few times.
In fact, it takes seven tries to finish world 2. "Sally" hands over the next big diamond, and then it’s on to world 3. Arino finds himself dying just as much, though, and gets another Game Over. After another hour of retrying, he gets up to world 3-3, and things take an interesting turn: He grabs a Star Rod, which shoots out those starbursts that turn everything to diamonds, and within seconds, he’s got all seven of them.
And yet, even after all of the deaths, Arino is still challenged by strategically-placed enemies and projectiles, and safety is short-lived before he’s killed one way or another. Ghosts and fireballs are the chief annoyances on 3-4, which isn’t helped by the fact that the level is rather long. And yep, a Game Over rears its ugly head once again.
Arino makes it back to 3-4, and gets all seven diamonds again, but still feels the pressure from one part in the level where he has to make it up past a line of fireballs and still not get hit by the minotaur heads shooting more fireballs from the wall, nor the bats closing in on him. Arino tries to be as careful as he can be, and after some failed-but-not-lethal attempts, he squirms past the minotaurs and reaches the boss, Super Dracula.
Dracula has a moderately sizeable life bar on him, but the big problem is the trios of bats he keeps shooting out from his cape at an unpredictable rate. Arino almost clinches it when he keeps spamming rainbows while Dracula stays in a corner, but still dies. By letting Drac fly in a little earlier on the second try, though, Arino manages to win, and get the next big diamond. But he’s still nowhere close to the end, with at least four more worlds remaining.
World 4 takes on a robotic theme, and Arino only manages to get one diamond in 4-1. Fast-forward to 4-3, and he only has half of them, and the enemies aren’t getting any nicer, with robot heads closing in on him and resulting in yet another Game Over. Arino makes it back, but then dies from the pursuant heads in the exact same way. "I forgot!"
Arino does it all over again, and makes it to 4-3 with all the diamonds. The robot heads still put on the pressure, but then water starts rising from below because he’s taking too long. He dies, of course. The next attempt is a little more lucky, as Arino places a rainbow in just a way as to catch two robots and kill them. A relieving end to 4-3 puts the cap on that little bit of drama, but of course, we’re not even to the boss yet.
The rainbow trap trick works wonders in 4-4, too, but eventually, Arino has to hurry up to avoid the water, and though he tries his best to rapidly bulid rainbows so he can rush up to the top, he slips and dies, leaving him with two lives left before another Game Over. Then he dies from rogue screws. Then, with one life left, he makes it to the boss.
The boss, who Arino thinks is Dig Dug (and I’d agree), is actually Super Isaac-kun. Like Dracula, Isaac moves around and fires projectiles a lot, but he’s a bit faster, and Arino gets caught by the boss’ rocket punches quite often. How often, you ask? Let’s just say Arino hasn’t had this much trouble with a boss in a long time. It takes a whopping eighty-five tries before he finally stays alive long enough to hit Isaac with rainbows and destroy him.
World 5 is now a reality. Curiously, it takes place in the world of Taito’s other series, Arkanoid, complete with the colored bricks and weird floating enemies from that game. And they’re all floating, which means — you guessed it — Game Overs aplenty!
AD Emoto appears for a third time, and finally offers to play the game for a little while to get Arino over the hurdle. Emoto is swift and near-perfect, just dying a couple of times between 5-1 and 5-2. Emoto reaches the midpoint of 5-3, where a giant Space Invader shape holds a giant egg (well, perhaps a pearl) that boosts some points.
Unfortunately, Emoto dies and gets a Game Over on 5-4, leaving Arino to pick up the pieces. But then he just gets another Game Over in just a couple of minutes. And then, the bad news: It’s almost time to leave, so this will have to be Arino’s last continue (song cue). Emoto takes over again and blasts through the levels up to 5-3, but dies there once again.
Arino takes the next attempt, but the penultimate screen in 5-3 is near-platformless, requiring the use of rainbows to climb up. He barely gets up off the ground and dies in a flash. The room clearly tries to hold back their laughter before Arino chuckles by himself and just gives the controller back to Emoto.
Emoto’s not much better, and before long, Arino’s down to his last two lives. Amazingly, he gets all seven diamonds and finally moves to world 5-4. Emoto plays that one, but slips up and dies, forcing Arino to make this one count. But he doesn’t, and dies almost in the same spot as Emoto.
After 14 hours, Arino throws in the towel. We then see Emoto finish the game with the best ending, where Bubby and Bobby recover the islands’ treasures and, y’know, make everyone happy and stuff.
Arino’s been to bowling alleys, batting centers, and hot springs, and now he’s visiting another fishing center: Super Fishing Adachi, to be exact, which is, of course, smack dab in Adachi-ku. It has a couple of big pools for the public to do some controlled fishing in, but Arino’s also here for the game center within the building.
The first game Arino spots is GTI Club from Konami, the wacky racing game featuring a suite of squat hatchbacks. Arino plays a race against AD Emoto, and the two try their best to get ahead as they bounce through the twisty European roads. They both lose, with Arino in 5th place and Emoto in 6th. Well, technically the kacho won, for once.
Next is a crane game with a modified claw that has two big scoops on its arms. Still, though it may seem generous, it’s harder than it looks, and Arino doesn’t quite catch the big capsules he wants. He gets AD Watanabe to squeeze herself in between the machines to get a side view of the crane game area and tell him when to lower the crane. It comes right above a capsule, but still doesn’t quite grab it.
Another crane game catches Arino’s eye, due to a bunch of plush mushrooms inside, including green ones that resemble a 1-UP mushroom from the Mario games.
Finally, it’s time to fish. Arino sits down at the pond and starts to set the bait on his hook. Cameraman Abe suggests making the bait big, so Arino forms a humongous mound on his hook that uses up all of the bait given to him. A mother across from him gets a bite, so clearly the fish are hungry.
Arino drops his feast of a bait down into the water, and after a few moments, he does get a nibble — but when he pulls it up, the bait is intact. D’oh. A man over at the next pond tells Arino what we’re all thinking: You can’t have it that big because the fish can’t eat it!
On the second try, Arino gets a bite and lands himself a carp, though apparently it didn’t get its mouth on the hook, but rather its eye. Ouch.Well, at least the visit wasn’t a bust.
"Last Continue" Karaoke
Arino visits a nearby karaoke box, where he finds AP Nakayama crooning away in one of the rooms. Nakayama tells Arino that the show’s "theme song," Last Continue, has made it into the catalog for Joysound karaoke systems, meaning that you, too, can sing along to Nakayama’s sterling debut.
Game Collections: 1990: July 27