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 12 – Back to Contents
Until We Meet Again… "Wrecking Crew"


It’s the 100th episode of Game Center CX! (Ignoring that whole weird first season, of course.) For the occasion, Arino is given a brand new ergonomic chair (in yellow!) and is handed a giant bouqet of flowers, and of course, his challenge game: Wrecking Crew. The NES action puzzle game from Nintendo stars Mario as a demolition worker who must use his hammer to bust down all the stone walls and ladders in the game’s stages — 100 stages, incidentally.

Given that fact, we jump right into the game — no time to literally smell the flowers for Arino. Stage 1 is easy enough, eith all of the walls easily accessible, and only one enemy (the Gotchawrench) to avoid. It only takes a minute each to clear both stage 1 and 2, leading Arino to jokingly wonder if he can beat the game in 100 minutes at this rate. Well, no, and in fact, he already screws up on stage 3: He drops down a platform, leaving a few stone walls inaccessible because there’s no easy way back up. He has no choice but to commit suicide and try again.

Next time, Arino clears stage 3 as he was supposed to. He then blazes through stages 4 and 5. 6 is another tricky one, though, where Arino destroys a set of ladders in one hit, but again leaves a wall in the middle stranded. On the next try, he’s more conscientious of it, and continues to smoke the next several stages, all the way to stage 12.

On stage 12, during the realization that the game has an "auto continue" that takes him right back to where he left off after a Game Over, Arino is introduced to the mischevious foreman, Spike. He’s basically a jerk, hanging out in the background and smacking Arino when he least expects it, and in this case, he knocks him right in between two barrels he can’t escape from. Arino tries again and starts fighting back, though, hammering the foreman to get him to knock it off. Finally, he clears the stage.

Stage 14 isn’t much better, as Arino keeps getting pinched by the Gotchawrenches and Eggplant Men. A few more attempts get him by the nightmare, though. Stage 15 features a tricky setup of walls suspended by pillars with bombs sitting next to them, and though Arino carefully makes his way down to the bottom by setting up the walls just right, he gets knocked down by Spike and enters another fail loop. On one attempt, he goes a little kamikaze, and runs to the bottom and lets off one of the bombs. That actually takes out most of the enemies and the walls, leaving just two to bust down. And Spike takes care of one of them, so it’s an easy win.

Arino hits a little stride again, moving quickly to stage 18. There, he manages to set up a whole group of Eggplant Men to fall from a broken ladder down in between some barrels to keep them at bay, but the lone survivor still manages to trip him up. What should have been a perfect run leads to several more failed attempts as Arino tries to avoid that lone Eggplant Man repeatedly. Finally, he takes things carefully and has the enemy chase him to victory.

The next stage is filled with dark brick walls, which take three hits to destroy, but Arino makes fairly quick work of it. Stage 22 encourages Arino to work fast, though, making him bust tiers of walls in a zigzag fashion as Gotchawreches chase him. That takes a few tries, but before long, he’s blazing through again, and we rejoin him at stage 32, which he also clears in just a couple of attempts. But if it’s not the enemies, or Spike, it’s the fireballs that appear from the screen and cause Arino even more pain.

In general, though, things are going swiftly, and Arino is well into the 40s in terms of stages. On stage 47, he uses some artful dodging to escape pursuant Gotchawrenches, via a technique where he hits a bomb just before the wrenches get him, causing him to fall down to the bottom while striking the walls and the enemies nearby. It’s really the only way to beat the stage, but it looks nice.

Before long, Arino reaches, and within two tries, finishes stage 50 — already halfway there! We rejoin him at stage 55, where he’s already written out a "schedule" predicting when he’ll be done — 10 PM, at this rate. Well, we’ll see. So far, stage 55 took six more minutes than expected. Stage 57 is another complimated journey down to avoid Eggplant Men. At one point, Arino traps Spike under a barrel, but still ends up dying later.

Once he finally gets Spike to "help" him finish the stage, Arino speeds through to stage 60, but hits a wall (a metaphorical one, this time) once more. At this point, AD Emoto emerges from the back to finally provide some hints. He tells Arino of a secret item that he can get if he goes through a complicated method of swinging the hammer a number of times before hitting the designated "prize bomb." In this case, he needs to swing the hammer 12 times, then hit the bomb on his 13th. When that happens, a golden hammer emerges from the bomb pedestal. The only problem is he can’t reach it because he went the wrong way and destroyed the ladder in front of him.

Emoto comes back and offers to do the trick for Arino. The AD sits down and properly summons the hammer and letting Arino grab it. The hammer lets Arino rapidly swing the hammer and destroy any wall in one hit, but he almost dies from encroaching enemies. After a mad dash for safety, Arino climbs back to the top and starts making short work of the stage, clearing it in a flash. The only downside is that he’s 90 minutes over his self-appointed schedule.

We jump ahead to stage 65. This time, Arino constantly dies when he gets within one or two walls of winning the stage. It takes over 40 minutes on this one stage, one that really doesn’t look too hard, but quick and perfect timing is needed to avoid being touched by the enemies. Stage 66 doesn’t go much better, as Arino must again fall down, then climb back up and carefully destroy full rows of walls.

On stage 70, Arino gets himself trapped a barrel, thanks to Spike being a jerk, as usual. Subsequent tries have just as many screwups, but it’s not until he finally gets all the Gotchawrenches trapepd that he can move on.

Arino’s fallen way behind on his schedule, and now it’s gotten too late in the day. But before Arino is given the choice to give up, AD Emoto returns with an announcement. Unfortunately, he’ll be leaving the show after this episode. Considering the circumstances, Arino leaves for now, to return to the game another day.

From 11 PM to the early morning, Emoto gets as far as he can in Wrecking Crew to give Arino the best leg up possible. Arino returns at 10 AM to find Emoto still sitting at the TV. The good news: He’s gotten up to stage 96, giving Arino the whole day to finish the last four stages.

He takes the reins for stage 96, which is another complicated mess of every wall type, barrel and pillar in the game, plus some enemies, of course. The whole run is tense, with Arino clearing the stage just as a fireball comes within inches of him. No time to rest, though, because it’s on to stage 97.

97 is a little less elaborate, but not by much. Arino needs to finish by hitting a bomb that drops him down into the middle of the ground floor to smash the last two walls. Easy on paper, but it takes him a couple of tries in practice — maybe taking those 12 hours off made him a little rusty. But we’re getting closer.

98 is another stage that requires expert timing, as a lone Gotchawrech patrols each platform, and Arino needs to get all the walls destroyed and knock himself back down to the bottom before the enemy touches him. This one really takes its toll, forcing Arino to spend over an hour on this one alone, over dozens of tries. After what seems like an eternity, he finally busts that last wall, and there was much rejoicing.

Stage 99 starts with Spike knocking Arino down in front of a barrel, trapping him from the get-go. He can still move around, though, so he’s able to hit a nearby bomb, thus immediately revealing the secret to beating the stage: you need to be dropped in front of that barrel to smash the remaining walls! Arino just needs to Spike up for it, but on the next few tries, the foreman isn’t feeling it, always putting Arino far out from where he needs to be. And then a fireball pinches him, and… it’s not a good scene.

On what seems like the dozenth try, Arino finally does everything in the right order. Stage 99 is clear! There’s but one more to go! Stage 100 is suitably challenging, with a level made up in a stairstep pattern of walls, barrels, and bombs. Eggplant Men pursue from the top, and start to disperse as they climb down the nearby ladders. Arino tries a variety of approaches, from knocking himself down to the bottom and going up, to picking away slowly from the top, and so on. Walls on the right side are blocked by barrels, so he has to carefully break the stone ladders so that he still has a way down, then walk across the screen wrap and smash the walls.

After a few tries, Arino finally clears all the walls, and then sets off one of the bombs to destroy the ladders. Wrecking Crew is finished! And all it took was a combined 27 hours. The game immediately starts over, but it’s not an extra mode — AD Emoto rushes in and tells Arino that the game simply has no proper ending.

Emoto then officially says his goodbye. But then, AP Nakayama comes in with a microphone. Sadly, he, too, tells Arino that he’ll be leaving the show. And then, AD Watanabe walks in and says she’s leaving, too! It may not be the happiest day for Arino in terms of getting help with games, but he takes it in good humor.

Watanabe then hands Arino a disc with a music video for a new song the staf produced: Sayonara Game, complete with Watanabe on vocals. Like "Last Continue," it’s a touching tribute to Arino’s trials over the past couple of seasons. After this episode, the show takes an extended break to come back in the summer for the 13th season, no doubt with a few new faces for Arino to poke fun at. Here’s to 100 more.

Arino’s Challenge – Lifetime Stats
64 Wins, 23 Losses, 1 Split
Total Time Played: 1,263 Hours, 20 Minutes

Game Center CX News

Arino walks up to Nakayama, who is playing with the Bandai noisemaking game controller toy, which emits Street Fighter II sounds. And 100 lucky viewers could have won a special GCCX-branded edition!

Game Collections: 1990: August

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